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Opera

Chinese Consortium's $1.24B Bid To Acquire Opera Software Fails, $600M Deal Agreed Instead (tech.eu) 85

The $1.24 billion takeover of Opera Software by a Chinese consortium of internet firms has failed, Opera said on Monday. The deal did not receive the required regulatory approval in time of a final deadline. But they will be doing some business. The consortium will now acquire only certain parts of Opera's consumer business, including its mobile and desktop browsers, for $600 million on an enterprise value basis. Tech.eu reports: What will not be acquired by the consortium is: Opera Mediaworks, Apps & Games and Opera TV. In 2015, Opera says these business units combined delivered revenues of $467 million. The company will report second-quarter results on August 31, 2016.
Media

Microsoft: Only Microsoft Edge Will Play Netflix Content At 1080p On Your PC (pcworld.com) 237

An anonymous reader writes from a report via PCWorld: Microsoft made the bold claim on Wednesday that its Edge browser was the only browser of the big four browsers -- Chrome, Firefox, and Opera -- to play Netflix content at a 1080p resolution. PCWorld tested the four browsers and found this claim to be valid. The other three browsers capped out at a 720p resolution. Microsoft has been trying to boost Edge's reputation. Microsoft recently claimed that its Edge browser is more power-efficient than Chrome. (Opera later denied those claims.) This is the latest bold claim to come from Microsoft in regard to its Edge browser. Microsoft has even publicized a Netflix support document to show that Netflix streams at 1080p on Internet Explorer and Edge, and 720p on the other browsers. PCWorld used the "secret Netflix menus" that were first unearthed by Reddit users (Ctrl+Alt+Shift+D) to display the resolution and bitrate and confirm that Microsoft's claims are true. "In a blog post, Microsoft claimed Microsoft Edge was built to take advantage of platform features in Windows 10, including the PlayReady Content Protection and the media engine's Protected Media Path," reports PCWorld. "The company said it is working with the Open Media Alliance to develop next-generation media formats, codecs, and other technologies for UltraHD video, and with chipset companies to develop Enhanced Content Protection that moves the protected media path into peripheral hardware for an even higher level of security, and one that could be used to protect 4K media."
Opera

Opera Denies Microsoft Edge Battery-Saving Claims (thestack.com) 57

An anonymous reader writes: According to the makers of the Opera browser, Microsoft's recent claim that its Windows 10 Edge browser is more power-efficient than Chrome are erroneous. Running its own tests with Opera, Edge and Chrome, the company finds that Opera runs 22% faster (with a battery life of 3hr 55m) than Edge (3hrs 12m). In Microsoft's own tests, Google's Chrome browser was the first to completely exhaust the battery, closely followed by Firefox and Opera. In May, Opera added a power-saving mode, but any advantage it can be verified to have in the energy-efficiency stakes may be more due to the native adblocking feature it introduced this year.
Microsoft

Microsoft Says Edge Browser Is More Power-Efficient Than Chrome (windows.com) 260

An anonymous reader writes: It's no secret that Google's Chrome browser eats up a considerable amount of memory (and by extension, battery). On Monday, Microsoft announced that its Edge browser has succeeded on that front. Citing several tests, Microsoft claims Edge browser is a better choice for portable device owners. The company took four identical laptops running Windows 10 to see which of the four most popular browsers would be most efficient when it comes to battery life. Interestingly, Chrome was the first to kill the laptop in the video streaming test at 4 hours and 19 minutes. Firefox closely followed its rival at 5 hours and 9 minutes, while Opera (running on the same tech as Chrome) managed to hit 6 hours and 18 minutes. In Microsoft's tests, it was found that Edge was best of the bunch when it came to enjoying a video online, lasting for 7 hours and 22 minutes. That's worked out to be 70% longer than Chrome.In a blog post, Microsoft wrote: "We designed Microsoft Edge from the ground up to prioritize power efficiency and deliver more battery life, without any special battery saving mode or changes to the default settings. Our testing and data show that you can simply browse longer with Microsoft Edge than with Chrome, Firefox, or Opera on Windows 10 devices."
Opera

Opera Adds Power-Saving Mode, Offers 'Up To 50 Percent' Longer Battery Life (arstechnica.com) 42

An anonymous reader writes: Opera Software has added a power-saving mode to its desktop web browser that "can increase the battery life by as much as 50 percent." The company claims optimizations are what has made the battery life increase possible, including "reducing activity from background tabs, adapting page-redrawing frequency, and tuning video-playback parameters." Opera claimed that a laptop running Windows 10 64-bit with the power-saving feature enabled lasts 49 percent longer than one with Chrome put under equal stress. Ad blocking was turned on during the test as well. The feature is not enabled by default, but a blue battery icon will appear next to the browser's address bar whenever the power cable is unplugged from your computer. When the laptop's battery is running low, the browser will suggest turning on power-saving mode, too. Earlier this week, Opera launched a new VPN app for iOS that is free to use and includes unlimited data.
Network

Opera Launches 'Free And Unlimited' VPN App For iOS (theverge.com) 23

Opera has launched a new VPN app for iOS that is free to use and includes unlimited data. The app uses the US-based SurfEasy VPN service acquired by Opera last March. Opera is promising that its mobile VPN is free for life, with no subscription needed. For comparison, SurfEasy's standalone apps for Android and iOS do charge subscription fees. Opera says the app is "especially relevant on campuses and workplaces," where Wi-Fi provided by one institution may have limited access to "social media and video streaming websites." The software blocks ads and trackers, in addition to allowing users to access geo-blocked content by routing their internet connection through another country. You can download the app here.
Bug

American Samoa Domain Registry Was Exposing Client Data Since the Mid-1990s (softpedia.com) 17

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Softpedia: A British security researcher that goes online only by the name of InfoSec Guy revealed today that American Samoa domain registry ASNIC was using an outdated domain name management system that contained a bug allowing anyone to view the personal details of any .as domain owner. The researcher also claims that anyone knowing of this bug would have been able to edit and delete any .as domain, just by altering the ASNIC domain info URL. Some of the big brands that own .as domains include Opera, Flickr, Twitter, McDonald's, British Gas, Bose, Adidas, the University of Texas, and many link shortening services. This flawed system has been online since the mid-1990s. The researcher contacted ASNIC after discovering the flaw at the end of January 2016, but email exchanges with the domain registry were scarce and confusing, with the registry issuing a statement today denying the incident and calling the allegations "inaccurate, misleading and sexed-up to the max," after previously acknowledging and fixing the security flaws.
Opera

Opera Adds Free VPN-Client With Unlimited Usage To Its Desktop Browser 101

On Thursday, Opera announced that it is adding a free built-in virtual private network (VPN) client to its desktop browser. The feature, which isn't available on other popular Web browsers, will allow users to hide their IP address, unblock firewalls and access region-locked content. It will also help users protect their personal information on public Wi-Fi networks as it offers 256-bit encryption. "Everyone deserves to be private online if they want to be," Krystian Kolondra, SVP at Opera told Slashdot in a statement. "By adding a free, unlimited VPN directly into the browser, no additional download or extensions from an unknown third-party provider are necessary."

The move comes a year after Opera acquired North American VPN company SurfEasy. Unlike Chrome and Firefox, which require you to use an additional third-party tool (such as an extension), Opera's VPN offering is baked in the browser. What's more, it is free and offers unlimited usage. The feature is available on Opera's Mac, Windows, and Linux clients.
Software

Opera's Ex-CEO Launches Vivaldi 1.0 For Power Users 135

Opera co-founder and former CEO Jon von Tetzchner on Wednesday launched the v1.0 of Vivaldi browser. Vivaldi v1.0, which is aimed at "power users", is available to download from the company's website for Windows, OS X, and Linux platforms. The Norway, Oslo company has been working on it since 2013. Vivaldi offers a range of features such as support for Chrome extension, Tab Stacks, Rewind and Fast Forward, and built-in support for custom keyboard shortcuts and mouse gestures. There are plenty of other handy tools including the ability to check how much data a Web page has consumed in real time.
Chrome

Opera Introduces Native Adblocking, 45% Faster Than Chrome With Adblock Plus (thestack.com) 100

An anonymous reader writes: A new version of the Opera desktop web browser introduces fully-featured native adblocking which is able to load adblocked pages significantly faster than rivals running the Adblock Plus browser. The new feature includes whitelisting of domains and a benchmarker to test the difference between page load-times with and without ads. Krystian Kolondra, head of Opera desktop, indicates in his post that the company's hope is to encourage the 'simpler' and less intrusive advertising which has been promised, but does not yet seem to be evident.
Opera

Opera Founder Opens Up About New Vivaldi Browser (networkworld.com) 73

alphadogg writes: Since the days of Mosaic in the early 1990s, Jon von Tetzchner has been working on web browsers. He is one of the creators of Opera, the alternative browser that's been a power-user favorite since 1995. His new project, Vivaldi, is heading for its first stable release. Network World sat down with von Tetzchner on Thursday to talk about Vivaldi and Opera at the Innovation House, a related venture of his.
Opera

Chinese Tech Group Offers To Buy Opera; Board Endorses 120

jones_supa writes: There's been plenty of speculation around the future of web browser maker Opera, and now that looks like it will soon be resolved. Today the Norway-headquartered company confirmed that it has received a $1.2 billion acquisition offer from a group fronted by Chinese consumer tech companies Kunlun Tech and Qihoo 360. The deal is for 100% of the company, and it represents a 53% premium on the company's valuation based on its most recent trading price. Opera's board said in a statement (PDF) that it has "unanimously decided to recommend" its shareholders to accept the bid. The final deal is subject to government and shareholders' approvals.
Star Wars Prequels

George Lucas: "I'm Done With Star Wars" 424

HughPickens.com writes: Entertainment Weekly reports that George Lucas has compared his retirement from Star Wars to a break-up – a mutual one, maybe, but one that nonetheless comes with hard feelings and although Lucas came up with story treatments for a new trilogy, those materials, to put it bluntly, were discarded. "They decided they didn't want to use those stories, they decided they were gonna go do their own thing," says Lucas. "They weren't that keen to have me involved anyway. But at the same time, I said if I get in there I'm just going to cause trouble. Because they're not going to do what I want them to do. And I don't have the control to do that anymore. All I would do is muck everything up. So I said, 'Okay, I will go my way, and I'll let them go their way.'" Lucas says he was going to tell a story about the grandchildren of figures from the original trilogy. "The issue was, ultimately, they looked at the stories and they said, 'We want to make something for the fans,'" says Lucas. "So, I said, all I want to do is tell a story of what happened – it started here and went there. It's all about generations, and issues of fathers and sons and grandfathers. It's a family soap opera."

Although the team behind The Force Awakens acknowledges they're taking the story in a different direction from what Lucas intended, they maintain affection for his original creations and the man himself. "Before I showed up, it was already something that Disney had decided they wanted to go a different way with," says J. J. Abrams. "But the spirit of what he wrote, both in those pages and prior, is everything that this movie is built upon." Some fans question why there was no "Based on" credit for Lucas in the poster for The Force Awakens. "I don't know why it isn't on the poster, but it's a valid point. I'm sure that that will be a credit in the film," says Abrams. "We are standing on the shoulders of Episodes I through VI."
Software

Vivaldi Hits Its First Beta (vivaldi.com) 140

An anonymous reader writes: Following well over 50 developer snapshots and 4 technical previews (Alpha), the new browser upstart has hit its first Beta release today. Following almost a year of work on alpha, Vivaldi is coming out with many unique features such as tab stacking and tiling, notes, and quick commands for navigating and feature use. Other features are in the works, such as sync and built-in mail client that will be introduced when they hit a more stable state. It's a refreshing take on the browser: as many others are diverging to a common design template, Vivaldi is taking a more feature-rich and customization-heavy approach. (We linked to a hands-on report about Vivaldi earlier this year, too.)
Google

Google Threatens Action Against Symantec After Botched Investigation (itworld.com) 95

itwbennett writes: Through its acquisition of Verisign's authentication business unit in 2010, Symantec became one of the largest certificate authorities (CAs) in the world. In September of this year, Google discovered that Symantec had issued a pre-certificate for google.com without its knowledge. Symantec's initial investigation of the incident determined that 23 test certificates had been issued for domain names belonging to Google, Opera and three other unnamed organizations. But Google quickly found additional unauthorized certificates that Symantec missed. Now, Google wants Symantec to disclose all certificates issued by its SSL business going forward.
Internet Explorer

Browser Tests Show Edge Fastest, But Weak On Standards (hothardware.com) 165

MojoKid writes: The Internet and web browsers are an ever changing congruous mass of standards and design. Browser development is a delicate balance between features, security, compatibility and performance. However, although each browser has its own catchy name, some of them share a common web engine. Regardless, if you are in a business environment that's rolling out Windows 10, and the only browsers you have access to are Microsoft Edge or IE — go with Edge. It's the better browser of the two by far (security not withstanding). If you do have a choice, then there might better options to consider, depending on your use case. The performance differences between browsers currently are less significant than one might think. If you exclude IE, most browsers perform within 10-20% of each other, depending on the test. For web standards compliance like HTML5, Blink browsers (Chrome, Opera and Vivaldi) still have the upper-hand, even beating the rather vocal and former web-standards champion, Mozilla. Edge seems to trail all others in this area even though it's often the fastest in various tests.
Security

Modern Browsers Are Undefended Against Cookie-based MITM Attacks Over HTTPS 66

An anonymous reader writes: An advisory from CERT warns that all web-browsers, including the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera, have 'implementation weaknesses' which facilitate attacks on secure (HTTPS) sites via the use of cookies, and that implementing HSTS will not secure the vulnerability until browsers stop accepting cookies from sub-domains of the target domain. This attack is possible because although cookies can be specified as being HTTPS-specific, there is no mechanism to determine where they were set in the first place. Without this chain of custody, attackers can 'invent' cookies during man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks in order to gain access to confidential session data.
Firefox

Firefox Will Run Chrome Extensions 152

An anonymous reader writes: Today Mozilla announced some big changes to its extension support. Their new addon API, WebExtensions, is mostly compatible with the extension model used by Chrome and Opera. In short, this means we'll soon see cross-platform browser extensions. They say, "For some time we've heard from add-on developers that our APIs could be better documented and easier to use. In addition, we've noticed that many Firefox add-on developers also maintain a Chrome, Safari, or Opera extension with similar functionality. We would like add-on development to be more like Web development: the same code should run in multiple browsers according to behavior set by standards, with comprehensive documentation available from multiple vendors."
Medicine

Death Toll at 4 In NYC Legionnaire's Outbreak 13

Reuters reports that four people have died of Legionnaire's Disease in an outbreak in the Bronx, and 65 more have exhibited symptoms of the disease. The Bronx was also home to the most recent flare-up of the disease, in December of last year. Says the article, In response to the outbreak, the city's health department has inspected 22 buildings in the Bronx, 17 of which have cooling towers. Five buildings, including the historic Opera House Hotel, Lincoln Medical Center and the Concourse Plaza mall and movie complex, tested positive for Legionella. Disinfection efforts are ongoing or have already been completed at all five sites. ... The people who died from the disease were older adults with underlying medical problems, according to a city press release. The department said the city's drinking water supply, fountains and pools have not been affected.
Cellphones

Ask Slashdot: Measuring (and Constraining) Mobile Data Use? 129

An anonymous reader writes: I've carried a smart phone for several years, but for much of that time it's been (and I suspect this is true for anyone for whom money is an object) kept pretty dumb — at least for anything more data-intensive than Twitter and the occasional map checking. I've been using more of the smart features lately (Google Drive and Keep are seductive.) Since the data package can be expensive, though, and even though data is cheaper than it used to be, that means I don't check Facebook often, or upload pictures to friends by email, unless I'm in Wi-Fi zone (like home, or a coffee shop, etc). Even so, it seems I'm using more data than I realized, and I'd like to keep it under the 2GB allotment I'm paying for. I used to think half a gig was generous, but now I'm getting close to that 2GB I've paid for, most months.

This makes me a little paranoid, which leads to my first question: How accurate are carriers' own internal tools for measuring use, and do you recommend any third-party apps for keeping track of data use? Ideally, I'd like a detailed breakdown by app, over time: I don't think I'm at risk for data-stealing malware on my phone (the apps I use are either built-in, or plain-vanilla ones from Google's store, like Instagram, Twitter's official client, etc.), but of course really well-crafted malware would be tough to guard against or to spot. And even if they can be defeated, more and more sites (Facebook, for one) now play video just because I've rolled over a thumbnail.
Read on for second part of the question.

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