Category Archives: OS News

Bot Assistants Around Us – A Practical Case

abstract-1278061_640Pupils in an electronic learning course at the Georgia Institute of Technology were amazed to discover that the teaching helper they corresponded with all session ended up to be a robot.

Called Jill Watson, the auto attendant talked with students about homework, course projects, and answered questions about the course, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Jill Watson is part of Georgia Tech’s on-line learning programs offering university grade courses to thousands of pupils via Udacity. According to the Georgia Institute of Technology, their bot gets up  10, 000 messages each semester, which is simple for people to get bogged down or be able to respond to all the questions.

Today, Watson powered technology is used also by a bevy of companies. The machine understanding and statistics technology had been trained to know perfect recipes, answer economic concerns, conduct client support in Spanish and power a goalkeeper robot at a popular resort chain.

Whilst the interaction isn’t completely streamlined however, people are now able to speak with bot assistants rather than humans via Facebook chats.

But the particular bot at the Georgia Institute of Technology is not like bots you may find in Facebook, it is able of more developed interactions.

Last but not least you have to consider that having a bot privately maintaining TA responsibilities through a semester might be seen as an ethical difficulty, but for this particular course it is sensible and appropiate.

TrueCrypt – Try it again! Waiting for CipherShed…

truecryptlogo_256TrueCrypt is safer than we thought! A specific audit tested TrueCrypt 7.1 unmantained through a complex verification process and the results are surprising.

First of all we have to consider that TrueCrypt is not mantained since 2014 and that its “natural” fork, VeraCrypt, is directly developed by Microsoft. For this simply reason many former TrueCrypt users prefer not to use VeraCrypt.

Secondly, the bugs revealed by the testers in TrueCrypt are less worrying than that discovered using its competitors solutions.

For this reason I decide to install TrueCrypt (that I use previously it was unmantained) on my Fedora 22 laptop.

To begin, I searched for a good repository and, at the end, I opted for that mantained by GRC. So I downloaded the TrueCrypt 7.1 archive from GRC that is still storing all the others TrueCrypt versions.

I decided to use the 7.1 version because it has more features than the last 7.2 version (the last known release of TrueCrypt). In any case I am monitoring the Swiss website and I wish that the CypherShed project will be completely developed soon.

After I extracted the file and moved it to a specific folder.

Last but not least I opened Terminal and typed:

sudo ./truecrypt-7.1a-setup-x64

and the software was correctly installed into my Fedora 22 OS.

After some tests I can adfirm that TrueCrypt is still a good security solution not only for the above mentioned audit but also because it is really stable, flexible, full of useful features and simple to use.

To sum up: Try it… again!

What about the low-cost Tablet Market?

Newcomers  are not always the happiest guy…. This because not often there is not  much room left by the first-comers that usually had the “good idea” and  consequently became the market leaders.

But sometimes things go differently. This is the case of low-cost tablet market where a  big number of semi-unknown producers from Asia have been able to create good products at a very affordable price.

If you google “tablet”  and visit some specialised, B2C, websites you can find some interesting  products. Obviously I’m not talking about the top of the production and you will not find any top level tablet but you could be interested to some of them if you consider their prices.

The middle level market wasn’t considered interesting by big players till now. But the  potential  increase of demand in this segment has changed the scenario. 

Tablets are very common devices and today many of us could be interested to have a second or third device to avoid the matter of carrying our expensive, branded tablet everywhere. Personally I am not planning to buy a second “branded” tablet to increase my comfort when in remote places but I could really consider to buy a second, not the top, device if it is really cheap. I am sure it will be a little be slower and less performant than the one I use every day but what does it matter if its price will be just a fraction of my main tablet?

For above marketing reasons Amazon is planning to sell a low-cost 50 USD tablet before the end of the year.

On one end the attended success of this marketing strategy could be read as another way to chain its customers to the brand. On the other end low-cost tablets represent a real remunerative economic niche that worths a good slice of the market (and consequently a lot of money).

Moreover the tablet market starts to be “mature” and this niche could be one of the last ones before the decline. Moreover Ubuntu is coming

In fact Ubuntu is actively working on a new generation of tablets that will run a native version of Linux. The tablet devices we are using today have enough power to smoothly run some of the main common Linux OS and overcome the main problems that were registered when some “primitive” Linux tablets were launched some years ago.

For this reason Linux enthusiasts like me hope in something new… and useful in the near future. Cross your fingers!

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References:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-to-release-50-tablet-as-it-struggles-to-sell-pricier-devices-1441653902

Video – What makes Ubuntu 11.10 so great? (by celebrateubuntu)

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Including a Ubuntu Machine into a Windows Domain

One of the great problems of interoperability between Linux and Windows has been the impossibility of Linux systems for joining a Microsoft Windows network. Subsequently, several standards to achieve this were developed over the years (see Samba), but they were far from offering normal user the chance to achieve this easily.
The infrastructure of many companies around the world, of all sizes, also relies on the use of a Windows domain. In all companies, one priority always stands out. That is to reduce information costs and expenses. Because of this, many of them have opted for the use of computers with Linux operating systems. But in many cases their integration into Active Directory environments was a problem.
Recently, a new tool was created to facilitate the full integration of a Linux system in an AD environment. And as far as today, it seems very promising. Thanks to likewise-Open5 (http://www.likewiseopen.org/), the difficulty of integration is almost null.

The following lines will illustrate the inclusion of Ubuntu in a Windows domain via likewise-Open5.

Installation

Likewise-Open5 Installation process is very simple. It can be done both through the graphical environment and command line. We will use the second variant. Therefore, a new terminal window must be open, in which you specify the following command:

sudo apt-get install likewise-open5

This command should resolve all the dependencies necessary to prepare the machine to be integrated in the Windows domain.

Adding a new machine

To actually add the machine, specify the following command in the terminal window:

sudo domainjoin-cli join domain used

Where DOMAIN is the area used for integrating the machine, and USER is the username that has the corresponding rights. You will be asked for your user password, and once successfully logged in, you are officially added the desired machine. AddThis Flattr this