Archive for January 31, 2019

Canadians Launch World’s First Browser-Compatible Computing Platform That Turns Computing Power Into A Public Utility

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 31, 2019 by itnerd

Distributed Compute Labs (DCL) has developed the Distributed Compute Protocol (DCP), the world’s first browser-compatible compute platform that allows businesses and academic institutions to securely share and access idle computing power across any electronic device. DCL has successfully tested the first full-scale deployment of its compute network with researchers from Queen’s University’s Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy, with the support of the Centre for Advanced Computing (CAC) at Queen’s.

DCP was developed to explicitly address the significant shortage of compute capacity available to scientists, engineers, and academics in Canada, and facilitates complex computations required to conduct world-class research. DCL’s browser-compatible technology allows any internet-connected device to contribute idle compute power with no software installation or plug-ins required, and makes it available to researchers in exchange for Distributed Compute Credits (DCC). For researchers, computations are automatically and securely performed through a web browser, making access to the network as simple as visiting a web page.

CAC is currently implementing a closed-loop deployment of DCP to test increased delivery of advanced research computing solutions.  Dozens of Infrastructure-, Platform-, Software- and Analytics-as-a-Service platforms are managed by CAC for Queen’s and partners across Ontario and Canada.  Securely harnessing their idle compute power and those throughout the ecosystem will significantly increase research IT resources critically needed to advance Canadian research.

Distributed Compute Labs is transforming compute resources into a public utility by harnessing idle compute power through a browser or app to meet pressing computational demand. Demand is met by distributing computations over a network of participants, each of whom earn Distributed Compute Credits (DCC), an ERC20 digital token, proportional to their contribution. Researchers deploying computational projects attach DCC to their work packages based on performance requirements, priority of execution, and level of security.

Individuals interested in providing their idle compute power to support research and innovation in Canada can visit: https://distributed.computer.

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OpenText Buys Catalyst Repository Systems

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 31, 2019 by itnerd

OpenText a global leader in Enterprise Information Management (EIM), today announced it has acquired Catalyst Repository Systems, Inc. (Catalyst), a leading provider of eDiscovery solutions for corporate legal departments and top law firms.

Catalyst will be integrated into OpenText’s Discovery Solutions, helping customers further leverage their technology investments and benefit from OpenText’s continued investments in innovation.

The purchase price of the acquisition is approximately $75 million in an all-cash transaction. Further information for investors, including an overview presentation regarding Catalyst, can be found at: investors.opentext.com/mergers-and-acquisitions.

Facebook Says That It Has Access To Apple’s Enterprise Certificates Again… But You Should Still #DeleteFacebook

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 31, 2019 by itnerd

I am sure that there was a very difficult conversation that that happened before Facebook got access to enterprise certificates again. The ones that Apple took away from them for abusing them. And as a side effect they made Facebook employees “pissed” and “angry” in the process. But in a statement to Mike Isaac of The New York Times, a Facebook spokesperson said that the company is “in the process” of making its internal apps functional. The company also confirmed that losing access to enterprise certificates did not have any effect on consumer-facing services:

We have had our Enterprise Certification, which enables our internal employee applications, restored. We are in the process of getting our internal apps up and running. To be clear, this didn’t have an impact on our consumer-facing services.

I must admit that I am disappointed by this development. I say that because Facebook are the bad boys of the Internet. They’ve always broke rules and then begged forgiveness. That’s not cool for Uber and it shouldn’t be cool for Facebook. If I were Tim Cook, I would have banned every single Facebook app from the App Store just to send a message that this isn’t cool. But they didn’t do that and here we are talking about it because you know that there will be a next time as I guarantee that this company has learned nothing from this experience. And if one company needs to learn a lesson, it’s Facebook.

Apple Lays The Smack Down On Google For Abusing Enterprise Certificates

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 31, 2019 by itnerd

That escalated quickly.

Not more than 24 hours ago it came to light that Facebook was not the only one abusing Apple enterprise certificates, but Google was doing that as well and for a much longer amount of time. In the case of the former, Apple revoked their enterprise certificate which is causing chaos within Facebook. Now it appears that Google has had their enterprise certificate revoked by Apple:

Apple has now shut down Google’s ability to distribute its internal iOS apps, following a similar shutdown that was issued to Facebook earlier this week. A person familiar with the situation tells The Verge that early versions of Google Maps, Hangouts, Gmail, and other pre-release beta apps have stopped working today, alongside employee-only apps like a Gbus app for transportation and Google’s internal cafe app.

“We’re working with Apple to fix a temporary disruption to some of our corporate iOS apps, which we expect will be resolved soon,” says a Google spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. Apple also appears to be working more closely with Google to fix this situation. “We are working together with Google to help them reinstate their enterprise certificates very quickly,” says an Apple spokesperson in a statement to BuzzFeed.

From the above statements, it sounds moderately more cordial than the Facebook situation. But if I am a betting man, I am guess that there’s a lot of one way conversations going on with the one way being from Apple to Google. Hopefully they along with other companies get the message that tis behavior isn’t acceptable.

Canadian Law Firm Launches Class Action Lawsuit Over FaceTime Bug

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 31, 2019 by itnerd

Things go from bad to worse for Apple. After being sued by a lawyer, then having an investigation started by the State of New York, Apple is now facing a class action lawsuit from a Canadian law firm. Montréal-based law firm Lambert Avocat Inc. has applied for a class action lawsuit against Apple with the Superior Court of Québec. The firm seeks damages for all who are affected by this bug. Which are anyone who runs an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPod with iOS 12.1 or later, as well as anyone who runs a Mac with macOS 10.14.1 or later.

Apple really needs to step up here as this is not only not going away, but is getting progressively worse for the company. Simply saying nothing and putting out a software fix “sometime this week” as it hasn’t appeared as of yet isn’t going to cut it. They have to do a whole lot more to reassure users that they can be trusted. Which if the stars align will take away the incentive for these lawsuits and investigations to be started.

So how about it Apple?

Facebook Employees “Pissed” And “Angry” At Facebook Over Their Improper Use Of Apple’s Enterprise Certificates

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 31, 2019 by itnerd

The turmoil caused by Facebook improperly using an Apple enterprise certificate to gather data on users that they payed to run an app that would never have seen the light of day in the App Store has just gotten worse. Appleinsider is reporting that the company is now facing internal strife from Facebook employees:

According to a leaked internal memo from Facebook VP of production engineering and security Pedro Canahuati, the company is “working closely” with Apple to reinstate Enterprise Certificate privileges that were revoked on Wednesday. That information lines up with a summary of the situation provided by AppleInsider sources.

The memo, obtained by Business Insider, seeks to ensure employees that Facebook is working diligently to restore access to an internal version of Facebook’s iOS app, as well as private versions of Workplace Chat, Instagram and Messenger. For now, the company urges employees to download public releases of those same apps. 

Still, with Apple’s lockdown in place, Facebook workers are unable to use apps like Mobile Home and Ride, both of which are not distributed publicly. 

Facebook employees vented their frustration over the situation in statements to Business Insider, saying that colleagues are “pissed” and “angry.” Some hold Facebook responsible for running afoul of Apple’s enterprise developer ruleset, while others pin the blame on Apple. 

“Apple is technically doing their job and has a right,” an employee said. “This is probably one of the worse things that can happen to the company internally.”

Now there are some employees who think that Apple is trying to “take Facebook down”, but it’s still not good if this is going on and it is leaking out to the public. Hopefully Facebook gets the hint that they have to alter their behavior so that they don’t tick off people outside and more importantly inside the company.

 

Google Pulls A Facebook By Using Enterprise Certificates To Bypass App Store

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 31, 2019 by itnerd

Clearly the use of Apple’s enterprise certificates to bypass the App Store so that one can load any piece of software they want onto their iDevice is a bigger problem than Facebook. I say that because Google has been caught doing a version of what Facebook was caught doing. According to TechCrunch, Google has been distributing an app called “Screenwise Meter” using the enterprise certificate installation method since 2012. Google has apparently been privately inviting users aged 18 and up (or 13 for those part of a family group) to download Screenwise Meter, an app that is designed to collect information on internet usage, including details on how long a site is visited to apps that are downloaded. The Screenwise Meter app that Google uses lets users earn gift cards for sharing their traffic and app data. It is part of Google’s Cross Media Panel and Google Opinion Rewards programs that provide rewards to people for installing tracking software on their smartphones, web browsers, routers, and TVs. Or put another way, they were paying people without actually handing out cash the way Facebook was.

So much for Google’s motto of “do no evil.” But to be fair, the ship has sailed on that motto years ago.

And there’s this little detail about the app:

Putting the not-insignificant issues of privacy aside — in short, many people lured by financial rewards may not fully take in what it means to have a company fully monitoring all your screen-based activity — and the implications of what extent tech businesses are willing to go to to amass more data about users to get an edge on competitors, Google Screenwise Meter for iOS appears to violate Apple’s policy.

And to nobody’s surprise, once this became public, this happened:

So now that’s two companies who have been playing fast and loose with Apple’s enterprise certificates. One has to think that more companies are doing exactly the same thing. The question is how many are doing the same thing and how bad is this going to get?