APCUG PUSH Articles and Reviews – January 2016

Thanks to APCUG, APCUG-member organizations and their newsletter editors, and Bob Clyne, there are several very interesting articles available to us as SEMCO members.

Due to content restrictions from the author/publisher, the linked posts below are not available to the public.  Please join SEMCO as a paid member to view the contents of these posts.  Our members have full access to APCUG PUSH General Articles and Reviews.

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SIG-Computing notes 10-Jan-2016, File Organization and The Cloud

The meeting notes from today’s meeting are at:

SEMCO News and File Organization 10-Jan-2016

It was a great discussion today, thank you!

Some other points mentioned during the meeting:

Possible free access to Google Apps via SEMCO’s 501c(3) status.  I’ll email the SEMCO Board about this.

Consider SyncThing as well if you are looking at setting up a personal or family cloud – please be aware you will have to do your own backup and redundancy if you set up one of these, the same as BTSync and OwnCloud.

For the example of the Windows 10 install that was going to the wrong drive, it was suggested during the meeting to try TestDisk (downloads site:  http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/testdisk/) as it can temporarily disable partitions.  PLEASE RUN A BACKUP BEFORE DOING THIS.

Happy New Year, and thank you for the great meeting!

First Experiences with Google’s Project Fi Cell Phone Service by Ira Wilsker

Some of you might remember my column from several weeks ago where I wrote about the newly available Google Project Fi cellular phone service.  For those who may not be aware, Project Fi is a cell phone service created and promoted by Google that is intended to offer cell phone voice and data service that seamlessly combines the networks of multiple carriers (currently Sprint and T-Mobile) along with secured Wi-Fi service consisting of over a million Google approved hotspots.  Project Fi’s service is generally priced below similar offerings from other cell phone companies, with unlimited talk and text for $20 per month, and cellular data costing $10 per month per gigabyte. The actual charge for cellular data used is prorated at only a penny per megabyte, with any unused data charges automatically credited to the following month’s bill.  There are no charges for data usage or calls made over Wi-Fi hotspots.  There is no contract required in order to utilize Project Fi, and users can pause or cancel the plan at any time without any penalties.  

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January, 10 2016 – SIG-Computing: File Organization and The Cloud, SIG-Linux: Election and Z shell

General Announcements

Mike Bader, president of SEMCO, will start the meeting with the election process and general announcements.

When: Sunday, January 10, 2016 at 1:30 P.M.
Where: Map to meetings at Altair Engineering


Topic: File Organization and The Cloud, PowerShell Quickie

SIG-Computing Chairman Jeff Marraccini will present File Organization and The Cloud, and PowerShell Quickie. Picked up a lot of pictures, movies, and family items you plan to scan and save for posterity during the holidays? Jeff will cover file organization in the current era, including a quick overview of private (BTSync, OwnCloud, etc.) and public cloud services. The objectives will include keeping organized, archival copies, and selective sharing with family and friends, without using social media sites!

Afterwards we will take a very brief look at PowerShell, Microsoft’s preference for automating tasks in Windows and Windows Server. An overview of resources to make the most of PowerShell will be presented and you will have copies of all the links. Learning PowerShell is a great New Year’s goal as it is a huge improvement over batch files!

Also: Questions and Answers following presentation and during social time before SIG-Linux meeting. Snacks available during social time.
When: Sunday, January 10, 2016 at 1:45 P.M.
Where: Map to meetings at Altair Engineering


Topic: Election and Z shell:

Before the presentation, the group will hold its annual election for chairman. Afterwards current SIG-Linux Chairman Brian Brodsky will demonstrate some of the features of zsh. Zsh is a shell designed for interactive use, although it is also a powerful scripting language. Many of the useful features of bash, ksh, and tcsh were incorporated into zsh; many original features were added. All are welcome.

When: Sunday, January 10, 2016 at 4:00 P.M.
Where: Map to meetings at Altair Engineering

Free Wi-Fi available.

Many Devices Utilize New Charging and Data Transfer USB-C Cables by Ira Wilsker

USB-Type-CRecent purchasers of smart devices, including many new phones, laptops, Apple devices, and other new high tech electronics probably noticed that the USB cable used to charge the device and transfer data between devices is the same on the “big” end, but slightly different on the “small” end.  The traditional “Micro-B” (the “small”) end of the USB cable that has been widely used for several years to connect chargers and data devices to billions of smart devices is a somewhat asymmetric shape resembling a flattened trapezoid.  Because of its shape, the common micro USB cable can only be inserted in one direction, which countless users have found as an inconvenience, but engineers intentionally designed so as to assure that the tiny conductors in the plug could only mate with appropriate matching connectors within the device.  Likewise, millions of Apple device users have been using the popular, but somewhat fragile “Lightening” connector connected to an otherwise somewhat identical USB cable to charge their devices and to connect to external devices.  

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Microsoft Upgrading Windows 10; May “Automatically” Upgrade Windows 7 and 8.1 to Windows 10 by Ira Wilsker

Windows 10

Several months ago, Microsoft offered millions of users of Windows 7 and 8.1 a free online update to the then newly released Windows 10.  While Microsoft has claimed that as many as 110 million Windows 7 and 8.1 users did accept the free offer to upgrade to Windows 10, Microsoft has also expressed some concern that as many as a billion other Windows 7 and 8.1 users have not yet upgraded to Windows 10.  According to several published reports, Microsoft has expressed concerns that the rate of Windows users upgrading from the older versions of Windows to Windows 10 has slowed, and this decline in the rate of people upgrading to Windows 10 may cost Microsoft substantial potential revenues.

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Holiday Shopping Season Opens with New Malware Targeting Credit Cards, and Android Tablets Factory Infected with Malware By Ira Wilsker


This past few weeks have been as busy for cyber security professionals as it has been for bargain shoppers. While there have been several stories in the national and local media about shopping safety and security, cyber crooks are also well aware that that the seasonal shopping frenzy creates illicit financial opportunities for those ingenious enough to create malware to again attack our “POS” (Point of Sale) payment systems, as well as to infect popular Android tablets with malware at the time of manufacture.

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Backup Your Smartphone to the Cloud by Ira Wilsker


Hardly a week goes by that an acquaintance does not ask me about recovering data from a lost, damaged, or otherwise dead smart phone. Just as the three most important words in computing are “Backup!, Backup!, and Backup!”, the absolute necessity of backing up the contents of a smart phone may be even more imperative than for a desktop computer. Unlike a desktop computer, smart phones and tablets of any operating system (Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows, and others) are far more prone to breakage, loss, or theft than the more stationary desktop computers. While many smart phone users do not faithfully back up their important content, those who do can better handle the inevitable disasters that face all users of smart devices.

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Another Massive Malware Attack on Android Devices by Ira Wilsker


Another coordinated malware attack on Android devices has been detected. This particular family of malware has evolved through at least three modifications, each apparently to evade the defenses and tools that have been created to prevent their infection of Android devices, and make their removal very difficult, if not impossible. These three related malware threats are known as Shuanet, Shiftybug (also called “Kemoge”), and Shedun (also known as “GhostPush”), and are known as a type of malware “Adware”, which is designed to generate revenue for the malware authors by generating paid advertisements on Android devices. While adware is generally considered more of an irritant than a threat, Android devices thus infected can later become vulnerable to more nefarious types of threats.

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