While Windows 10 users had to resort to the “AppData” folder for the viewing or modifying of Linux files, Microsoft with the next Windows 10 update will be making it easier to access Linux files via WSL filesystem, as the former process is fraught with issues of data loss or corruption.

The upcoming Windows 10 Version 1903 changes the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), bringing support for easy access to Linux files, and users will be able to view and modify items from the File Explorer, by simply using the Command Line.

According to Microsoft, Windows service and driver will act as client and communicate with the 9P server, whereby a 9P protocol file server facilitates file-related requests, which then, the server containing the protocols is also responsible for handling the Linux metadata which ensures that files remain intact even after the access.

The process is as simple as typing in “explorer.exe” within a Linux shell environment and following the command, you would find a File Explorer within the Linux Distro. Then type “\\wsl$\\” in the Explorer window to access the Linux files.

And you can perform several operations on the Linux files like dragging, copy & paste and more. Also, you can use the feature with Windows 10 Power Shell by simply typing “cd \\wsl$\Debian\” to change the root directory of the installed Debian system.

Microsoft created the feature based on its community feedback! It welcome users to file any issues that they may find on its Github page: https://github.com/Microsoft/WSL for faster actions.

Microsoft's next Windows 10 update to bring support for easy Linux files access

The second point release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) is now live, which follows closely on the heels of Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS released in July last year, and as the norm, it is released in three editions: Desktop, Server and Core (for IoT devices and robots).

While the popular operating system newest version is also available for Cloud platforms, along with the different flavors, such as Lubuntu, Kubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Kylin and Xubuntu.

Developed by Canonical, Ubuntu is an open-source Linux distribution based on Debian, and of course free, with the community under a meritocratic governance model. Canonical provide updates on security and support for all Ubuntu releases, from the release date until it reaches the designated end-of-life (EOL) date.

And the point releases ensure that every user downloading a fresh ISO from the official website get all updates and fixes in one bundle.

The new support for hardware enablement stack (HWE) and Linux 4.18 kernel will enable Ubuntu to run on more devices and to deliver better graphics performance, for instance, this new update brings support for Pi 3, with Pi 2 supported image target, which is a good news to Raspberry Pi enthusiasts.

Ubuntu update is released every six months, with long-term support (LTS) releases happening every two years. The newest release is 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish), while the most recent long-term support release is 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), with support till 2028.

Ubuntu new release supports Hardware Enablement Stack (HWE) and Linux 4.18 kernel

The JavaScript and React framework, Next.js 8 comes with support for serverless deployment, whereby applications are separated into smaller lambdas or parts, to allow code to run on demand and scale automatically, with each page in the directory serving as a serverless lambda.

While Next.js is for building server-rendered apps with the React UI library and JavaScript, now the version 8 has brought with it serverless capabilities, and low-level API for serverless deployment.

And the framework also help to reduce build-time memory usage and speeds up static export, with other improvements in Next.js Version 8 including: better static export, with faster static rendering through next export on multi-CPU machines. It is performed on output files which can be served directly without code execution on server.

It offers build-time memory usage reduction, through contributions to the Webpack module bundler and this resulted in 16 times better memory usage without degradation in performance.

And there are also improvements in prefetch performance, with Next.js router enabling the prefetching of pages for easier navigation, while a sample API authentication is included to show how to authenticate against external API in programming language.

Finally, the inline JavaScript tag has been changed to JSON for safe transfer to client. Though with previous Next.js versions, the enabling of the Content Security Policy security layer required enabling script-src unsafe-inline in their policy, the change means that no inline scripts are included by Next.js, as it creates an inline script tag.

The JavaScript and React framework, Next.js 8 support for serverless applications

Instagram, the Facebook owned company is testing direct messaging for the web that allow users to chat outside the app, while this means that users on PC or Mac will be able to chat on Instagram, and users can also access Instagram via a mobile web browser to privately message others on the platform.

The general adoption of the service has been hitherto hampered by the unavailability of web continuum, as full web support could mean Instagram will be a more full-fledged messaging system, with mobile and desktop clients to serve as alternatives rather than just a feature for sharing photo and video contents.

Even as messaging remains the fulcrum of engagement on Instagram, it also made people addicted to the app, but with the availability on the web users can be able to receive messages anywhere and could send from anywhere as well.

While Facebook’s chat feature started from the web before been extended to mobile, it has continued to record huge growth; it’s possibly the more reason for Instagram Direct to embrace the web. Albeit, there is another possibility that it could be paving the way for the upcoming unification of the back-end infrastructure for Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct and WhatsApp to allow cross-platform chat support, as reported by The New York Times.

The Instagram Direct web version is available from the arrow icon in top right of the homepage, with some features using an Instagram.com/direct/…. URL structure. And perhaps, Facebook will adopt a Direct destination website similar to https://www.messenger.com, if the feature becomes hugely popular.

Instagram Direct Messaging coming to the Web to allow users to continue chats

Google is currently testing AR navigation feature for Maps, which will allow users to use their smartphone camera and arrows on the screen to find their way around a given location.

The feature, first teased at Google I/O developer conference in May, is now rolling out to a number of users under the Local Guides program, Google Maps community members who volunteers to contribute information about local businesses, and also engaged for the testing of new features on Maps.

While the blue dot on Maps calibrates a meter or so away from real position, making the navigation feature unreliable most times, Google hopes to deploy the Maps AR navigation to makeup for the short comings.

And once navigation is turned on, the “Start AR” button will appear on Google Maps, to avail the user a real-time view using their phone's camera.

It helps by orientating the users when they are following a walking map, and also solves the common problem in getting out of a subway which is a great annoyance in many big cities around the word.

And you'll have an idea of which way you're facing, so you won't have to wait for the little blue dot on Maps to point you in the correct direction.

Google is seriously building more capabilities to Maps to make the app more useful and appealing to users, with bevy of new features like the "for you" tab offering tailor-made recommendations and the "match score" to show you how much likeness you may have for a local restaurant or business.

Google Maps AR navigation undergoes testing with select Local Guides

While high-end Android devices have specialized hardware that handles encryption using the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), but smartphones in the budget segments run on low processors on which the AES can not run efficiently, Google is looking to solve the security puzzle with Adiantum.

Adiantum is designed to make encryption more efficient for devices without cryptographic acceleration, by adapting ideas from AES-based proposals for length-preserving encryption such as HCTR/HCH using the ChaCha stream cipher in a length-preserving mode. For ARM Cortex-A7, the decryption on 4096-byte sectors is about 10.6 cycles per byte, around 5x faster than AES-256-XTS.

Encryption has become hugely essential for security and privacy with the proliferation of public Wifi and the need to secure the data on our smartphones, albeit it comes as a trade-off for speed as it can take quite a while to resolve traffic through the system.

And this issue of slowness is the more reason it can not be supported on low processor powered devices, as AES would result in a very poor user experience and apps would take much longer to launch; since storage encryption has been required for most devices running Android 6.0, those devices with poor AES performance (50 MiB/s and below) remains exempted.

But Google seeks to change that because encryption is now necessary for everyone, even so much so that a device becomes practically unusable.

The ChaCha20 stream cipher offers faster encryption than AES when hardware acceleration is unavailable, because it relies on operations that all CPUs natively support: additions, rotations, and XORs. So, Google selected ChaCha20 along with the Poly1305 authenticator, which is also fast in software, for a new TLS cipher suite to secure HTTPS internet connections.

With ChaCha20-Poly1305 standardized as RFC7539, it greatly improves HTTPS performance on devices that lack AES instructions. And the end result is Adiantum, which is named after the genus of the maidenhair fern, and in the Victorian language of flowers (floriography) represents sincerity and discretion.

Going forward, device manufacturers are required to enable Adiantum for either full-disk or file-based encryption on devices with AES performance <= 50 MiB/sec and launching with Android Pie. For Android Q, Adiantum will be a part of the platform, and the Android Compatibility Definition Document (CDD) will be updated to require that all new Android devices be encrypted using any of the allowed encryption algorithms.

Google to bring Encryption to low-processor powered Android devices with Adiantum

Google launched a new Chrome plugin dubbed Password Checkup, that will alert users when their login details have been compromised, whose information is found in their recent “Collections” leak, and will prompt a warning message to update their information.

While the “Collections” leak is Google's Archive of about 4 billion usernames and passwords, and all credentials that it feels have been compromised in recent times.

On installation, all your login details entered across various sites will be checked against the database of breached usernames and passwords and a warning will be issued if your details matches any compromised record.

The Password Checkup extension automatically identify when a login details is compromised in any third-party data breach, with the passwords stored in an encrypted form, and the warnings against it stored locally on your machine.

Google maintains that users personal information are safe, as such sensitive data are encrypted, there is no way anyone can intercept or access the data.

As Chrome already offers password generator tool, if it detects that your credentials has been stolen, the Password Checkup will ask you to change the login details, and Chrome will store the new password automatically in a password credential file, that is if you choose the option, and use it to log you into a site automatically in any future visits.

Google also rolled out a related security feature called Cross Account Protection, to help in availing another line of defense to users using third-party apps, that is if you use your Google account to log into other sites.

The company will be working with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and OpenID Foundation, with other major technology companies to secure users accounts using the Cross Account Protection tool behind the scene.

And any event your account is compromised, Google will notify all the apps and websites that you’ve logged into with your Google account to make sure your other accounts are protected.

How Chrome's Password Checkup plugin can help in securing against data breaches

ClusterFuzz, which offers scalable fuzzing infrastructure that finds security and stability issues in software, used by Google for the fuzzing of Chrome Browser, and serves as the backend for OSS-Fuzz is now open source.

It has helped to unravel over 16,000 bugs in Chrome and more than 11,000 bugs in other 160 open source projects integrated into OSS-Fuzz.

While the term fuzzing implies the method for detecting bugs in software by feeding unexpected inputs to target program, which is very effective at finding memory corruption issues that's often the cause of some serious security problems.

Especially applicable in software projects written in C or C++, fuzzing is crucial in ensuring their security and stability as these languages are mostly unsafe.

Albeit, these issues can be manually sorted out, but it's difficult and rather time consuming, as bugs can often slip through even a rigorous code review, ClusterFuzz offers effective, continuous debugging at scale and fully integrated into the development process of a software project.

ClusterFuzz is able to detect bugs in software within hours after they are live and verify a fix within days.

Google had earlier offered ClusterFuzz as a free service to the open source projects via OSS-Fuzz. Now, the company has fully open sourced ClusterFuzz, making it available for anyone to use via GitHub, with instructions provided for guidance.

Google open sources ClusterFuzz, the fuzzing infrastructure for detecting bugs

If you've been following recent happening in the torrent ecosystem, then you must have known about the growing onslaught against torrent sites, with almost every major torrent sites like the Pirate Bay (TPB) and KickAsss Torrents haven been shutdown by the government authorities at one time or the other.

But no matter how hard the government kicks, they just can’t stop users from visiting torrent sites. Still, there are quite a lot of working Piratebay proxy sites available now, and many serving as torrent search engine which does not host torrent files, but provide ways for users to find good torrents on different active torrent sites.

While the Pirate Bay remains the largest and most popular torrent site, offering numerous torrent files via magnet links for the latest movies, games, software and much more; but sadly, TPB has had many ups and downs over the recent years.

Albeit, the Pirate Bay has notorious reputation for copyrighted files, the more reason its various domains have been taken down by different countries, but torrenting is not all about illegalities, as many users do share bits of larger files via torrents as it enable potentially fast download speeds.

And the rise in torrenting also meant a rise in the popularity of VPNs, which ensure you are safe and your connections secure as you sort out the different torrents. Similarly, with many ISPs in different countries constantly blocking the Pirate Bay, you can use a VPN to bypass the blockade.

3 Best VPN for TPB torrenting in 2019

1. ExpressVPN: With availability and support in over 90 countries, ExpressVPN is arguably the top notch VPN to consider for safe torrenting given the extensive support it offers. Moreover, it also allows access to the Pirate Bay from virtually anywhere in the world securely and anonymously.

ExpressVPN is equally super-fast, and offers tons of great features which makes performing tasks like torrenting an absolute pleasure.

2. NordVPN: NordVPN pride itself as one of the first service with ultra-secure connection, supporting OpenVPN and protocols like: IKEv2/IPsec, PPTP and L2TP, armed with ‘Double VPN’ servers which passes your data through two separate servers for extra security.

Additionally, NordVPN supports Onion over VPN for extra privacy, making it the number one for security and privacy conscious users.

3. CyberGhost VPN: CyberGhost VPN offers tons of robust features for privacy and rock-solid grade encryption to keep your data secure while torrenting, and possess highly optimized servers in several locations for a seamless experience.

And when it comes to pricing, CyberGhost has the cheapest prices combined with awesome features that makes it one of the most favorite VPN for the Pirate Bay any day.

If you wish to know more about these listed VPN services, do check out their respective websites for comprehensive pricing and free options available.

And always remember, using the Pirate Bay or any other torrent site without VPN can be pretty dangerous, you just don't want to experience any nasty surprises, as these sites are infamous for hosting pirated contents, and the authorities are always in the lookout for offenders.

But with VPN you are amply covered, and VPNs have made the torrenting experience so much better with their network encryption and IP masking features.

The Ultimate List of Best VPN (Both Paid & Free) for the Pirate Bay Torrents in 2019

Cranelift, an open source project developed by Mozilla in conjunction with Fastly Labs aims to help in the translation of the functions of WebAssembly portable code format to native machine-code functions, for more efficient execution on the web.

It is being built with the support of Crane Station, the Crane Compiler Organization; the Cranelift will also be useful for the running of WebAssembly code outside of the web, as it makes WebAssembly fully readable as input with native machine code as output. And the functions can be converted into static single assignment (SSA) form, with optimizations performed before the conversion to machine code, and packaged into native object files (.o files) or executed directly as a just-in-time (JIT).

Though still in developmental stage, and the APIs unstable, it has enough functionality to run certain programs such as WebAssembly MVP (minimum viable product) functions execution, with WebAssembly embedded externally as part of the complete implementation.

While the currently finished Cranelift-based product is available in Fastly’s Terrarium, a browser-based editor and deployment platform that uses Cranelift in its compiler and server launched in November 2018.

Mozilla is also working to integrate Cranelift into Firefox browser, which will be useful to generate native code to the Rust compiler, albeit Cranelift is seen as a library for bigger products rather than a product on its own. It is also working on an embeddable, nonbrowser VM for WebAssembly, which uses Cranelift for compilation and runs WebAssembly outside the web, called Wasmtime.

Wasmtime can be used as command-line utility or as library embedded in bigger application; and quite similar to LLVM compiler project, with both having textual and in-memory factors of their intermediate representation and cross-compile without rebuilding the code generator by default.

The Cranelift intermediate representation (IR), however is less friendly for mid-level optimizations, but it doesn't currently perform any by itself, and Cranelift has a larger set of instructions and no intrinsics.

Cranelift: An Open Source Project to translate WebAssembly into native Machine-code functions