Monthly Archives: May 2014

CluckCluck Helps Busy Parents Book, Pay And Message Their Children’s Caregivers

Heather Joyce and Erin Matzkin, hard-working technology attorneys who also happen to be moms with a total of five kids between them, spent many years helping companies build websites and apps, but were frustrated that there was not a decent application that addressed their own needs when it came to balancing their work and family lives. So they decided to build one themselves. Today, they’re introducing “CluckCluck,” a simple utility that lets you communicate with your nanny or sitters, assign task lists, share emergency contacts, and pay caregivers directly from your phone.

Longtime friends, the two founders had practiced law together at the same firm, and later at the Walt Disney Company, getting married, having kids, and having long discussions about balancing work and family life over the years. The idea for CluckCluck eventually emerged from their shared struggles on that latter point, with everything coming to a head one day when Joyce became frustrated with trying to book a sitter by sending out text after text. “Why isn’t there an app for this?” she thought.

Because of their tech law backgrounds, Joyce and Matzkin knew how to draw out the basic wireframes for what they had in mind. They then brought in Damian Toohey, an aerospace engineer, creator of personal finance app Budget Boss and father of three, to help them build CluckCluck.

The app, whose name is meant to reference the “mother hen” concept, competes to some extent with the offerings from services like, UrbanSitter, or SitterCity, or perhaps a family organizer like Cozi. But unlike the sitter-finding services, CluckCluck’s premise is not that you need help finding a caregiver, but that you need a simple way to find out which of your usual sitters are available.

With CluckCluck, parents can input their list of favorite sitters, then send out an invitation to all their sitters at once when a job is available, as well as use the app to communicate with the sitter about what their kids are up to while in the sitter’s care.

Instead of having a note stuck on the fridge, parents can also share their contact info and other emergency numbers with the sitter using the app. Plus, they can create profiles for each child detailing the activities and other tasks they want to be updated about, like the child’s soccer practice or other after-school program, their homework assignments, nap or feeding times and more. Caregivers can respond to these assigned tasks with just a push of a button, or they can optionally include a text message or photo.

Explains Matzkin, this helps to eliminate some of the awkwardness around the communication process. “The task list frees the nanny up from having to type out a long text message…but it also makes the nanny confident that she’s not being intrusive, because you’ve asked to get this information,” she says.

This feature, however, puts CluckCluck more in competition with something like’s “Karoo” app, which is largely designed for caregiver and parent communications. However, Karoo is more focused on sharing photos and various milestones rather than actual tasks. (In fact, before building CluckCluck, the founders tried Karoo themselves, hoping it would meet their needs. It did not.)

Finally, CluckCluck lets parents pay the sitter directly from the phone using PayPal, which is handy since hitting up the ATM tends to cut into those precious hours of freedom. This also provides a source of revenue, as each transaction includes a 99-cent convenience fee. At the end of the year, you can even export your transaction history to Excel to help with your taxes.

Though still an early beta and in need of some visual polish, CluckCluck is the kind of app that’s clearly been designed based on these women’s real-world experience in trying to balance their parenting duties and ambitious careers. And they took it from idea to launch without being iOS developers themselves. They even won the Audience’s Choice award at TechCrunch’s Atlanta Meetup and pitch-off this year.

The app is a $2.99 download here on the iTunes App Store. A “gifting” function is built in, so you can purchase it for your nanny or sitter as a way to get them signed up.


Via: techcrunch

List of Cyber Attacks and Data Breaches in May

List of Cyber Attacks and Data Breaches in May

In the last week there have been data breaches at three large organizations: eBay, Avast and Spotify.  These three breaches have certainly increased the public’s interest in cyber security, and I hope that this interest will encourage the public to speak up and demand that their suppliers work harder to protect their information.

Data breaches via cyber attack

Orange Suffers Data Breach Again, 1.3 Million Affected

eBay Suffers Cyber Attack, Users Asked to Change Passwords

Avast Suffers Cyber Attack; 400,000 users affected

Spotify compromised, one user’s data stolen

Thousands of staffers impacted in American Institutes for Research server hack

Hackers exploit vulnerability to breach Pennsylvania payroll company

Keylogger malware found on three UC Irvine health center computers

About 50K transactions, other data, compromised in three-month breach

WooThemes users notified of payment card breach, 300 reports of fraud

Data on students and staffers exposed in UNC Wilmington breach

Patient data accessible after health staffers act on phishing emails

DDOS attack

Point DNS blitzed by mystery DDoS assault

Ultradns Dealing with DDOS Attack

TypePad Claims It Was Hit By Another DDoS Attack

DDoS attack wounds Operation Supply Drop charity drive

Data breaches via physical attack

Four computers containing patient data stolen in New Hampshire

Unencrypted USB drive stolen, 3,000 Humana members in Atlanta impacted

About 5,500 impacted in Oklahoma benefits broker laptop theft

Storage devices stolen from Entercom Portland employee, 13K affected

Other attacks, breaches and mistakes

Insider breach affects about 2,400 UMass Memorial Medical patients

Lowe’s employee info accessible online for about 10 months

Student data inadvertently posted online, accessible via Google search

Molina Healthcare Contractor Compromises 5,261 Former Patients’ Personal Information




‘Half of American adults hacked’ in the past year – really?

A new study publicized this week claims that almost half of all American adults – about 110 million people – have had their personal data hacked in the past year.

Tallied by the Ponemon Institute and reported by CNN, the study claims that 47% of US adults have been hacked in the past 12 months, with up to 432 million “hacked accounts.”

It’s a frightening statistic, if true. Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Certainly there’s been a vast swath of the American population whose data has been compromised in the last year, with the biggest culprits being the breach of Target that leaked 40 million credit and debit card numbers, plus additional records, from a total of 70 million customers.

So with Target’s numbers alone we’re already at 70 million “hacked” individuals, which is a stunning figure in itself.

If you add to that the data breaches at Neiman Marcus, Michaels, and, more recently, eBay, then CNN’s claim of 110 million people hacked – “half of US adults” – starts to look very realistic, and maybe even on the low end.

But there are a few problems here.

An incomplete picture of data loss

CNN’s data comes from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), which tallies data breaches in the US reported by news media and government sources (CNN says it also got data from its “own review of corporate disclosures”).

The ITRC is very thorough in keeping its statistics, but only includes the numbers that have been disclosed – companies don’t always report the number of records lost due to varying breach notification laws, leaving an incomplete picture.

For example, eBay didn’t report how many of its 138 million accounts were exposed in the recent attack, so we are left to wonder – was it all 138 million accounts? Or, (unlikely but still a possibility), just one person’s account?

By the way, a “record” is a name plus another piece of personally identifying information (PII) of data such as a driver’s license number, credit card/debit card number, or medical record.

Because email addresses and passwords aren’t considered PII, companies are not required to disclose loss of them as a data breach – even though a hacker could use your email address and password to steal other relevant information about you that is PII.

What’s even more challenging in coming to a reliable tally is that, according to the ITRC, organizations only disclosed the number of records lost in 60% of the data breaches in 2013.

Could that mean even more than 110 million people were hacked? Well, because there’s no data on the other 40% of data breaches, we just don’t know.

All this leads the ITRC to state on its website that:

Any efforts to accurately quantify the actual number of breaches, and resulting number of compromised records, are stymied in the absence of mandatory and uniform reporting requirements on a national level.

Let’s not forget that records from different breaches are connected to some of the same people multiple times – it’s likely that people who shopped at Target and had their credit card numbers stolen also had their email address stolen from AOL, or their account number swiped from eBay.

So how does CNN get its number of 110 million individuals “hacked” in the past year, and up to 432 million accounts breached?

ITRC’s data shows that 91,978,932 records were breached in 2013, and another 8,533,800 have been confirmed lost so far in 2014.

That brings us to about 100 million records confirmed lost for 2013 and 2014 – a far cry from the 432 million accounts claimed by CNN.

“Hacked” is not the same as lost or stolen

Not all of those records were “hacked” by cybercriminals, but many were exposed accidentally through employee negligence, or by insider theft.

The ITRC reports on its website that 26% of the total of 614 data breaches in 2013 was a result of “hacking.”

When you consider that the 24/7 news media needs provocative headlines to drive clicks and to win advertising dollars, CNN’s claim starts to make a little bit more sense.

The headline “Half of American adults hacked in past year” looks great, but it would have been more accurate if they’d have written “We have no idea how many Americans were hacked last year but it’s probably a very high number”.

And what of the rest of the world?

Well, according to another headline-grabbing report, more than 820 million records were exposed in data breaches worldwide in 2013.

Whatever the real number of individuals affected by these data disasters is – and we really, truly just don’t know – it’s still way too high.

That’s a fact.


Via: sophos

Microsoft warns against hack that allows Windows XP updates

Microsoft has warned against using a hack that enables Windows XP to continue to receive security updates even though Microsoft officially ended support for the operating system in April.

A “simple registry tweak” allows those who have not migrated to a newer version of Windows to receive updates from Microsoft, according to Betanews.

The tweak pulls in the updates Microsoft is releasing for embedded versions of the 13-year-old Windows XP, which Betanews notes would be “essentially” the same as the standard version of the OS.

But Microsoft has warned that Windows XP customers may face problems if they install the updates.

“The security updates that could be installed are intended for Windows Embedded and Windows Server 2003 customers and do not fully protect Windows XP customers,” Microsoft said in a statement.

“Windows XP customers also run a significant risk of functionality issues with their machines if they install these updates, as they are not tested against Windows XP,” the statement said.

Security experts also warned that companies should be wary of the registry hack as it could potentially have an adverse effect on their environment.

“Microsoft will not be testing the patches on the full version of XP and so these updates could lead to downtime and have a negative effect on user experience,” said Andrew Avanessian, vice-president of global professional services at Windows privilege management firm Avecto.

“Another consideration is system bloat. XP machines will tend be to running on older hardware, which is most likely at the end of its life, and as number of the updates will not be needed it could result in increased disk footprint,” he said.

Several government have negotiated deals with Microsoft to extend support for Windows, giving them more time to migrate to a more modern operating system.

The UK government won an extra year with a £5.5m deal with Microsoft.

Security experts have urged all other users of Windows XP to migrate to newer operating systems or at the very least switch to a browser like Google’s Chrome or Firefox that is actively supported.

Avanessian said companies unable to migrate to Windows 7 or 8 should strongly consider removing unnecessary admin and power user rights.

They should also ensure staff members cannot implement the registry hack to reduce vulnerabilities to attack as much as possible.

When Microsoft ended support for Windows XP, the Information Commissioner’s Office estimated that 30% of all PCs were still using Windows XP.

Research by UK software firm AppSense indicated that around 77% of UK organisations were running XP somewhere in their IT estate.

While Gartner estimated that up to 25% of enterprise systems was still running XP, and that a third of large organisations had more than 10% of their systems still on XP.



Via: computerweekly

Hackers exploit Apple’s ‘Find My Phone’ feature, lock users out, ask for ransom

Multiple users on Apple Inc’s online support forum and Twitter have reported an unusual smartphone and tablet hack in which cyber attackers were said to have locked Australian users’ smartphones and demanded payment in return for unlocking them.

The alleged cyber attackers, first reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, appeared to use Apple’s “Find My Phone” feature to lock the devices’ screens and send a message demanding money be sent to a PayPal account, according to multiple users. The anti-theft feature locks phones that are reported lost.

Apple, in response to inquiries about the hacking, confirmed there had been an incident. The technology giant said in an emailed statement it “takes security very seriously and iCloud was not compromised during this incident”.

It recommended affected users change their passwords as soon as possible and avoid using the same username and password for multiple services.

An Apple spokeswoman in Sydney said by telephone Apple did not have any details on how widespread the incident was or whether it was contained to Australia.

Multiple users requested information on Apple’s support forum about how to reset their phones or otherwise circumvent the lock, while other users also tweeted their concerns.

“I went to check my phone and there was a message on the screen saying that my device(s) had been hacked by ‘Oleg Pliss’ and he/she/they demanded $100 USD/EUR,” said “veritylikestea”, a user from the Australian city of Melbourne, on an Apple discussion board.

Other users replied that they had received the same message.

Telstra Corp Ltd, Australia’s largest telecommunications provider, said it was aware of the issue, while Vodafone Hutchison Australia said it was encouraging worried customers to contact Apple.

News of this hack comes just a month after it was revealed that
a flaw in iOS 7 allowed hackers to easily deactivate Find My iPhone and wipe users’ iCloud accounts.

Via: ibnlive

Ransomware Moves to Mobile

Ransomware continues to make waves, especially with the rise of file-encrypting ransomware like CryptoLocker. However, we are seeing yet another alarming development for this malware: it is now targeting mobile devices.

Reveton Makes a Comeback

In early May, it was reported that this mobile ransomware was the product of the Reveton gang. Reveton was one of the many cybercrime groups that spread police ransomware, which hit Europe and the U.S. and consequently spread to the other parts of the world.

It now appears that these cybercrime groups have decided to include mobile users in their intended victims. Our earlier efforts  resulted in some of those behind these attacks being arrested, but not all of these cybercriminals are now behind bars – and some have expanded their efforts into mobile malware.

This is detected as ANDROIDOS_LOCKER.A and can be downloaded through a specific URL. The domain contains words like “video” and “porn,” which can give an idea of how users wound up on the site.

The malware will monitor the screen activity when a device is active or running. Based on the analysis of its code, it tries to put its UI on top of the screen when the device is unlocked. People will not be able to uninstall the malicious app by traditional uninstall means as one would normally do because the system or even the AV UI is always “covered” by the malware’s UI.

It also tries to connect to several URLs that are its command-and-control servers. These are currently inaccessible. However, one URL was found to display pornographic content.  The ransomware appears to be capable of sending information to these C&C servers albeit a limited function because it only has few permissions.

These URLs are hosted in two IP addresses located in the U.S. and in the Netherlands. Further analysis reveals that these IP addresses also host other malicious URLs, though not related to this particular malware.

The Continued Migration to Mobile and Best Practices

Over the last couple of years, “desktop” malware have continued to make their way to mobile endpoints. We reported last March that we encountered Bitcoin-mining malware that targets Android devices. To avoid these threats, we strongly suggest that you disable your device’s ability to install apps from sources outside of Google Play and double check the developer of the app you want to download and be very meticulous of the app reviews to verify apps’ legitimacy.

This setting can be found under Security in the system settings of Android devices. On-device security solutions (like Trend Micro Mobile Security) provide an additional layer of protection that detects even threats which arrive outside of authorized app stores.


Via: trendmicro

Facebook finally makes public sharing ‘opt-in’ for new users, gives everyone else more controls

There’s a funny TV commercial you may have seen lately, where an elderly woman is showing a group of her lady friends photos literally pasted to her living room wall.

“Instead of mailing everyone my vacation photos, I thought I’d save a ton of time by posting them to my wall,” says the sweet old lady.

The joke, as we all know, is that sharing to your Facebook wall means something else all-together.

“That’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works!” one of the old ladies says in the ad.

It’s been 10 years since Facebook gave the world a reason to share everything with everyone – but the social media giant is finally acknowledging that not everyone is clear on the concept.

Well, it’s about time.

In a big announcement, Facebook said it is making changes to its website and iPhone app that will give users “more power and control” over audiences for their updates.

The big switch will now make sharing only to Friends the default for new users of the service, who – up until now – had their News Feed posts set to Public.

“We recognize that it is much worse for someone to accidentally share with everyone when they actually meant to share just with friends, compared with the reverse,” the company acknowledged in its news release.

There will be more new privacy features rolled out over the next few weeks that Facebook says will give all users additional tools, reminders, and “privacy checkups” to walk users through their privacy settings.

You can expect to see more of the little blue Facebook privacy dinosaur popping up on your profile.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll start rolling out a new and expanded privacy checkup tool, which will take people through a few steps to review things like who they’re posting to, which apps they use, and the privacy of key pieces of information on their profile.

Facebook is also changing the design of its web interface and iPhone app to make the privacy setting more visible at the top of the status update window for each post.

On Facebook for iPhone, the audience you’re sharing a post with is now at the top of the screen, and on web, people will see a simplified audience selector.

We’re testing and rolling out similar improvements in other places people use Facebook.

Another important new feature will give users a pop-up warning when they are about to share something publicly, just as an additional check against over-sharing.

These updates follow closely on Facebook’s introduction of another privacy enhancing feature that will give users more control over the sharing of data with websites and apps that allow you to log in with Facebook – called Anonymous Login.

We may chuckle over that funny ad and those sweet old ladies who don’t understand how Facebook works.

But our privacy isn’t a joke, and Facebook is finally, hopefully, recognizing that the opt-in model makes for more informed users – that’s real power and control.


Via: nakedsecurity

Linux: Best desktop distros for newbies

To Linux or not to Linux?

Ah, the siren call of desktop Linux. You usually hear it just after Windows starts bullying you to restart so that it can install updates, or when you see cool screenies of Linux desktop environments like KDE and Cinammon. But which distro should the novice start with?


Mint is the first new Linux OS to challenge for the crown of “what Linux experts would recommend of total newbies” in years. It’s reasonably lightweight, intuitive and its default desktop experience is quite easy on the eyes.

FOR NEWBS?: Absolutely.



Still arguably the most important desktop distro, Ubuntu is designed to be as easy-to-use and as seamless as certain proprietary operating systems. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea – more serious Linux geeks frequently aren’t developer Canonical’s biggest fans – but it’s still a great transitional OS.

FOR NEWBS?: Definitely.

There’s a variant of Ubuntu, called Ultimate Edition, which I run on my home server, two work stations, and a laptop. (Website: It’s a fairly robust port of Ubuntu, with plenty of bells & whistles. Version 3.8 is released, but I’ still running version 3.5-x64 on everything except the main server, which is running 3.5-x86 (P-4 HT) It runs right off the CD or DVD, can be put on a 4GB flash stick, has r/w ability to NTFS, as well as the entire Ubuntu software library available to download. (Though, comes with quite a few useful apps already pre-loaded too!) The Upgrading from one version to another, is still quirky. (Can’t overwrite the older version, but can install parallel.) Software updates Via Muon, Ubuntu Software Central, and Apt-get. (Pretty sure Synaptick too). Though I’ve had a few source servers fail, I simply dump the load list to a text file, and convert it to a bash shell to “apt-get install” them via SU.. Set-up is easy! (Like I said, even runs right ‘Out of Box’) Wide range of drivers, and wrapper for Windows drivers. I’m quite satisfied with it!



Debian is the underpinning of a slew of other Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, and Mint. It’s complicated, serious and a bit staid, but also enormously flexible, and it’s lightweight enough to provide solid performance out of the box.

FOR NEWBS?: It’s not necessarily designed for the novice, but the tech-savvier newbie shouldn’t have many problems.


Sprung from the fertile open-source loins of Red Hat, Fedora is a long-standing Linux distro with a ton of flexibility and lots of customization possibilities. If the cool kids used Linux, they’d use Fedora.

FOR NEWBS?: Kind of – Fedora gates off non-free software, which might confuse or frustrate less-technical users, but it’s generally pretty accessible



ElementaryOS‘s first stable release, Luna, launched last year to widespread praise for its simple and clean aesthetics. It’s pretty and intuitive enough to pull any number of converts.

FOR NEWBS?: Probably – although the default browser’s lack of Flash support could prove a minor headache for some.



Some people, however, really don’t want to convert at any price – and for them, there’s PCLinuxOS, a distribution that does most of what a certain very widely used proprietary OS does.

FOR NEWBS?: Windows refugees, definitely. Others, probably.


Slackware is popular with its userbase for its stability and the sheer number of options it makes available, but there are a lot of package management and configuration tasks that have to be done by hand. If you’re not already pretty Linux-literate, this could get old fast.



Arch bills itself as both elegant, which it is, and simple, which it also is, but only if you’re really willing to get your hands dirty managing aspects of the system that most people are used to having automated.

FOR NEWBS?: Almost certainly not.


OpenSUSE is stable, straightforward and generally quite simple to use. It might lack some of the hand-holding of Mint and Ubuntu, but reasonably computer-literate newbies probably won’t need that, anyway.

FOR NEWBS?: Should be as workable as most others. The centralized control center – “YaST,” or “Yet another Setup Tool” – could prove particularly helpful.


The good news is that it’s lightweight, fast and, once you get it working, pretty slick. The bad news is that that last part can sometimes take a while, depending on what you need Crunchbang to do, and it could require considerable manual configuration.

FOR NEWBS?: For real novices, no way. But for the more tech-savvy, #!, as it’s also known, could be surprisingly workable.


There are also live cd Linux which you don’t even have to install on your machine, but run from CD or flash drive.

One of the best ways to test Linux without installing it while still getting full use.


Via: networkworld

Five Linux Live CDs

Linux is so useful, you don’t even need to install it before it gets to work. One of the popular uses of Linux is to create live media that can be used to run desktop systems or to create utility discs for all kinds of administration. Confused about the live CD that’s right for you? No worries, we’ve got the top five live Linux CDs to get you started.

The popularity of live CDs has waned a little bit over the years, for a couple of reasons. One of the big reasons a lot of users chose a live CD, initially, was the difficulty of installation. Back in the day, Linux just wasn’t as easy to install as it is now. And many users liked to use Linux on a live CD to get the hang of it before trying to dual-boot with Windows or replacing Windows altogether.

By the way, while we’re talking about live CDs here, you’re not restricted to CDs for most Linux live distros. Some ship full DVDs of software, and most are bootable from USB as well in case you have a netbook or other machine without a optical drive — or just happen to prefer carrying a USB key over a CD or DVD.

Selection criteria: So how were the distros chosen? You’ll notice that none of the major Linux distros (a.k.a. Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, openSUSE, Slackware, etc.) appear in the list, though most of the picks are derived from one of the major distros. Though Ubuntu, Linux Mint, et al. have perfectly serviceable live CDs or DVDs, they’re not really designed for long-term use as a live distro. I’m sure some folks do use them that way, but they’re the cream of the crop for installing to a hard drive — not for live media.

When choosing the best of the many live media Linux distros out there, I looked for distributions that are actively being developed, that serve a specific and useful purpose, and should be useful to a fairly wide audience. To that end, I picked from end user distros as well as utility distributions that are used for specific tasks.

But I tried to avoid discs that are just interesting to a very, very small audience. You’ll find live media distros that are great for niche tasks, but not too interesting to 98% of the Linux community. For example, dyne:bolic looks really interesting for folks who want to do multimedia production. But how many folks want to do serious multimedia production off a live CD? (It also hasn’t been updated in a while, so it’d be bumped out anyway…)

Without further delay, let’s take a look at the discs that hit the top of charts.

The Undisputed Champion: Knoppix

You simply can’t have a list of best Linux live CDs without Knoppix. If not the first live CD to appear, it’s certainly the most successful and enjoys a very large and active community.

Knoppix is a Debian-based live CD that uses LXDE (at least in the default) as its desktop and includes most (if not all) of the software you’d want for a desktop system. It’s updated regularly, if not speedily, and has excellent hardware support. Knoppix is primarily aimed at being run from live media — but it’s proven so popular over the years that support for hard drive installation has been added.

Note that you’re not going to see the same set of applications, or quite as up to date, as with Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, etc. Knoppix is optimized for speed and uses some default Debian apps. For instance, you’ll get IceWeasel instead of Firefox. But, if you’re looking for a live CD with great performance, Knoppix is the one to turn to.

The Knoppix site is just a wee tiny bit cluttered. One might get the impression that the Knoppix folks really, really want you to buy a CD or DVD rather than downloading. You can find downloads via the Torrent tracker (probably the best way to get it if you don’t have an ISP that fiddles with Torrent traffic), or grab it from one of the mirrors.

Note that when you download Knoppix, the list of files can be somewhat confusing. Look for the latest version of Knoppix, and pay careful attention to the file names. The current release is 6.2.1, and you want to grab KNOPPIX_V6.2.1CD-2010-01-31-EN.iso for the English language release, or KNOPPIX_V6.2.1CD-2010-01-31-DE.iso for the German release. If you want the DVDs, look under the knoppix-dvd directory on the mirror. This can be confusing because the top of the listing will include Knoppix ADRIANE, which is the Audio Desktop Reference Implementation and Networking Environment. This is primarily for users who are blind or have limited vision.

If you do happen to accidentally download ADRIANE, don’t fret — you can use the knoppix “cheat code” to start in the default Knoppix environment. What’s a cheat code? One of the many options you can use at the ISOLINUX boot prompt. Here you can specify the language, keyboard set, time zone, and tell Knoppix to skip various hardware detection options if you’ve had trouble.

Tiny and Feisty: Puppy Linux

For older hardware, or for users who really like minimalist systems, there’s Puppy Linux. The ISO image for Puppy Linux is less than 200MB, and can live entirely in RAM — assuming you have a modern system with more than 256MB of RAM, of course. Most systems should be able to easily handle Puppy.

Boot Puppy and you’ve got a nice little desktop system that has a browser, media player, Word processor, terminal emulator, file manager, drawing apps, the whole shebang. It just doesn’t ship with the standard (and some might say, um, full-figured) apps you’ll find with today’s popular desktop distros. No Firefox, but you’ve got Midori. No LibreOffice, but you’ve got AbiWord.

And you can get those other apps. Puppy makes it easy to install packages of the popular (pupular?) and most widely used open source apps. But if you’re going Puppy, why not go all the way and live on the slim side?

Ready to embrace the Pup? Head over and grab the latest release. Want it on your hard drive? Read the how not to install Puppy Linux docs.

It’s also worth noting there’s a variant of Puppy that might be interesting, called Quirky. It’s built using Puppy’s Woof builder system, and might be interesting for folks who want to experiment.

Backup and Restore Any OS with Clonezilla Live

Computers come and go, but data shouldn’t. I love Linux because it’s stable and runs on cheap (or expensive, if you prefer) hardware. Linux runs great on older and refurbished hardware, and in my experience is consistently stable and reliable. The same, unfortunately, can’t be said for hardware — when you factor in failed RAM, dead hard drives, and so on. It’s a good idea to assume that any given system is just one keystroke away from sudden death, and plan accordingly.

For work documents I use Dropbox to keep my writing and notes backed up. That covers my writing, Amazon MP3 downloads, Photos, and other essential data that fits under 50GB. But for the bulk of my data, I use Clonezilla to create a clone of my hard drive every few weeks so if my hard drive dies I can plop in a new drive and restore from backup.

Clonezilla is based on Linux and uses free software — but it doesn’t judge. Have some Windows systems or an Intel-based Mac that you want to clone? No worries. Clonezilla will boot on 32- (x86) and 64-bit (amd64) systems, and it handles just about any filesystem you want to throw at it. Even if it doesn’t support the filesystem, it can dd the data and restore it byte by byte. If it does support the filesystem type, it can save time by only copying the data used and not the entire filesystem.

You’ll find two editions of Clonezilla, one meant to be run from a server and one (Clonezilla Live) to boot from CD or USB. Unless you have a bunch of machines to backup and restore (like a server room full), Clonezilla Live is what you’ll want. Just boot the machine using the Live CD or USB, then back up to an external disk or over the network and you’re good to go.

Help Me! SystemRescueCD

Along the same lines, I am a fan of SystemRescueCD and try to keep a current release on disc and USB at all times. I rarely need to use it, but when I do, it comes in very handy.

SystemRescueCD is a rescue disc for Linux systems in particular, but also can be used with other x86 or amd64 hardware. (An older version is available for SPARC systems, too.) You can even set it up for PXE booting if you like, so if you’re in an environment with a lot of systems, you can dispense with the USB/live CD media and boot systems using PXE. If you need to boot a system and copy data off, or try to rescue the system, or want to nuke the data — SystemRescueCD is for you.

SystemRescueCD has a full complement of rescue tools, networking tools, partitioning tools, and so forth. If it doesn’t have everything you need, it comes very, very close. Check out SystemRescueCD today and make sure you have a copy before you need it.

Network Security Toolkit

Last, but certainly not least, there’s the Fedora-based Network Security Toolkit (NST). If you’ve ever looked at the top 100 security tools published by and thought “gee, I wish I had all those in a convenient live media” then you’ll love NST.

Granted, it doesn’t have all 100, but it comes really close. You’ll get Wireshark, Nmap, Snort, Nessus, and even some nifty network geolocation features.

NST sports a Web User Interface that’s easy to use, as far as network tools go, and is a must-have for any network or system administrator — or Linux enthusiasts who want to learn more about networking. Like the SystemRescueCD, this isn’t one I reach for often, but I like having it around. Note that it’s available not only as a live media image, but also as a virtual appliance if you’d prefer to spin it up in VMware Player or Workstation.


Even if you’re not a live CD aficionado, I’d recommend having a live CD on hand anyway. In particular, I’d suggest having the SystemRescueCD or Knoppix tucked away for emergencies. If your hard drive dies or a system update goes awry, being able to boot a system from live media makes a big difference. It’s also handy when friends have computer problems, and a good chance to show off Linux to boot. (No pun intended.)



Via: linux

Minecraft Xbox One, Vita And PS4 Edition Arrive This August For $19.99

Minecraft is the golden goose, and it lays its golden eggs on all platforms. So far, it hasn’t hit the next generation of home consoles, however, but that’s set to change in August when it arrives on Xbox One, PS4 and in a new PS3 + Vita edition. Mojang announced the news today on its blog, complete with details about how each is “slightly improved.”

Credit to the Minecraft maker for not engaging in hyperbole – these are basically lightly tweaked editions of the extremely popular world-builder/crazily addictive game that originally debuted in 2009. The cost for each is $19.99, but there are discounts if you’ve already bought the Xbox 360 or PS3 versions if you’re upgrading to the Xbox One or PS4 versions, and they offer larger world sizes and greater draw distances than the previous editions.

At this point, Mojang can probably get away with doing this every console generation for the remainder of human existence – my wrinkled hands will probably be typing up a Minecraft Xbox Zeta5 and PS16 Edition release date article come 2046. Just think of the draw distances.


Via: techcrunch