Previous Page
PCLinuxOS Magazine
Article List
Next Page

ICYMI: Enable Automatic Translations in Firefox 117

by Paul Arnote (parnote)

A new study found that 4.31% of phishing attacks mimicked Microsoft, far ahead of the second most-spoofed brand PayPal, according to an article from TechRepublic. PayPal (1.05%), Facebook (0.68%), DocuSign (0.48%), Intuit (0.39%), DHL (0.34%), McAfee (0.32%), Google (0.30%), Amazon (0.27%), and Oracle (0.21%) round out the top ten most-spoofed brands. Best Buy, American Express, Netflix, Adobe and Walmart are some of the other impersonated brands among the list of 350 companies used in credential phishing and other social engineering attacks Abnormal flagged over the past year.

A team of computer scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, led by Emery Berger, recently unveiled a prize-winning Python profiler called Scalene. Programs written with Python are notoriously slow—up to 60,000 times slower than code written in other programming languages—and Scalene works to efficiently identify exactly where Python is lagging, allowing programmers to troubleshoot and streamline their code for higher performance. Berger's team, which included UMass computer science graduate students Sam Stern and Juan Altmayer Pizzorno, built Scalene to be the first profiler that not only precisely identifies inefficiencies in Python code, but also uses AI to suggest how the code can be improved.

A comet discovered just weeks ago by an amateur astronomer could soon be visible to the naked eye, according to an article from Cosmos. Comet C/2023 P1 Nishimura was found by Japanese astrophotographer Hideo Nishimura, on 11 August. Nishimura was taking long-exposure photographs of the sky, with a digital camera. The comet may get bright enough to see unaided by early September – although at the peak of its brightness, it will be very close to the Sun, meaning it may be obscured by glare. The best viewing is believed to be around sunrise and sunset from a high vantage point, like the top of a mountain. If it survives its trip around the sun intact, skywatchers on Earth may get a second glimpse in late September as it continues its estimated 435 year orbit around the sun.

The latest version of Mozilla's flagship FOSS browser is out, and it's picked up one of the main features for which we keep Chrome around, according to an article on The Register. The Firefox version 117 feature list might not look all that impressive, but it does have a big-ticket feature that may tempt people back: automatic translation. The snag is it's disabled by default in the release version, and you'll have to manually enable it. Although it was enabled in the betas, Mozilla has decided to go for a staged rollout and not enable it for everyone until Firefox 118 in six weeks or so. To enable it now, in Firefox 117, go to the configuration page (enter about:config in the address bar), and search for a setting called browser.translations.enable. Change that to True and restart the browser, and the new feature should start working. If you go to a page that's not in your configured system language, a new button should appear next to the address box, offering machine translation.

Is Python **really** the world's most popular programming language? And, what happened to JavaScript in this realm? Well, according to an article at, that depends on which "survey" you choose to believe. It also depends on what you "classify" as a programming language. One survey has JavaScript positioned in fifth place, while another survey has it positioned in first place. Meanwhile, the survey that positions JavaScript in fifth place has Python positioned in first place. Confused? I'm sure.

Even ransomware operators make mistakes, and in the case of ransomware gang the Key Group, a cryptographic error allowed a team of security researchers to develop and release a decryption tool to restore scrambled files, according to an article on The Register. The decryptor only works on a specific version of the ransomware built around August 3, according to threat intel provider EclecticIQ, which spotted the criminals' mistakes and exploited them to develop the Python-based restoration tool. It's available for free: EclecticIQ published the Python script on Thursday in a report about the Russian-speaking gang. Check out the details, and scroll way down to Appendix A for the smart script.

Do you think you're doing the environment any good by using paper cups for your coffee? You might want to think again, according to an article from Wired. Supposedly eco-friendly cups are still coated with a thin layer of plastic, which scientists have discovered can leach chemicals that harm living creatures.

Apple has urgently rolled out software updates to counter a newly discovered "zero-click" vulnerability that allows spyware to infiltrate its devices, according to an article on Breitbart. Owners of iPhones, iPads, and Macs, and even Apple Watches should immediately update their device by following the instructions at the bottom of the linked article.

Something may be rotten over at Rotten Tomatoes, the popular movie rating website that many people use to gauge which of Hollywood's releases to spend their money on to view, according to an article at Vulture. The article gives instances where PR firms "hired" critics to review films in order to "raise" the Rotten Tomato score on the website.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

A product engineer and a software engineer are bringing OpenAI and its primary supporter Microsoft to San Francisco federal court with claims of stolen personal data, according to an article on TechRepublic, which was based on an article from Reuters. The plaintiffs, who are known only as A.T. and J.H. in the complaint, claim OpenAI used their personal information scraped from the internet to train generative artificial intelligence tools, such as ChatGPT. Specifically, it claims OpenAI used personal data from social media, stealing their "skills and expertise" in order to make products that could "someday result in [their] professional obsolescence." It was only a matter of time before someone took the companies behind AI to court, given how the companies are eager to reap enormous profits from the burgeoning AI market. Maybe this will FINALLY be the thing that slows down the adoption and explosion of AI.

Paul Landis was one of two Secret Service agents tasked with guarding first lady Jacqueline Kennedy on November 22, 1963—the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. In a new book, The Final Witness, to be published in October, Landis claims to have seen something that afternoon that he had never publicly admitted before. His secret, coming to light only now, will certainly reorient how historians and laymen perceive that grave and harrowing event. His account also raises questions about whether there might have been a second gunman in Dallas that day, according to an article from Vanity Fair. The mystery deepens. By the way, Landis was never interviewed by the (in)famous Warren Commission.

OpenAI published tips for educators in a promotional blog post that shows how some teachers are using ChatGPT as an educational aid, along with suggested prompts to get started, according to an article on ArsTechnica. In a related FAQ, they also officially admit what we already know: AI writing detectors don't work, despite frequently being used to punish students with false positives.

Image by BedexpStock from Pixabay

"The Immortals" is a new podcast from BBC Radio 4 about Silicon Valley billionaires who go to great lengths to try to fight off aging and extend their lives as long as possible, according to an article on BoingBoing. This article shows that the super-rich will go to any lengths to pervert their wealth, even to their attempts for immortality or longevity. Subscribers can access it now, but it will soon be available for free from your favorite podcast distributor.

It's time to update Google Chrome, Mozilla's Firefox or Thunderbird, Microsoft Edge, the Brave browser or Tor Browser, according to an article on TechRepublic. Web development news site StackDiary has reported a zero-day vulnerability in all six browsers that could allow threat actors to execute malicious code. The problem isn't with the browsers — the vulnerability originates in the WebP Codec, StackDiary discovered. Other affected applications include Affinity, Gimp, Inkscape, LibreOffice, Telegram, many Android applications, and cross-platform apps built with Flutter. Apps built on Electron may also be affected, but Electron has already released a patch.

Your Gmail and Instagram are training AI. And, there's little you can do about it, according to an article from the Washington Post (article may or may not be paywalled). It's your data. Do you know what Big Tech is doing with it? Google, Meta and Microsoft are taking your conversations, photos or documents to teach them their AI. Unless you turn it off, Google uses your Gmail to train an AI to finish other people's sentences. Meta, the owner of Facebook, took a billion Instagram posts from public accounts to train an AI, and didn't ask permission. Microsoft uses your chats with Bing to coach the AI bot to better answer questions, and you can't stop it.

Credit: NASA

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has captured an image of Herbig-Haro 211 that is an "infantile analog" of the Sun when it was just a baby star with a mass of about one-twelfth the present-day Sun, according to an article on PetaPixel. Herbig-Haro (HH) objects are "luminous regions surrounding newborn stars, formed when stellar winds or jets of gas spewing from these newborn stars form shock waves colliding with nearby gas and dust at high speeds," explains NASA. HH 211 showcases an outflow from a Class 0 protostar. Herbig-Haro 211 is located about 1,000 light-years away in the constellation Perseus. The Class 0 protostar in the center will one day grow into a star like the Sun. Scientists believe the image here could represent what the Sun looked like when it was "no more than a few tens of thousands of years old." The Sun is about 4.6 billion years old today. This beautiful image was captured by Webb's Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam). Infrared imaging technology is especially powerful when looking at newborn stars and their outflows because they are formed within the gas of a molecular cloud, which is difficult to see through in visible light. HH 211 emits infrared light, which can penetrate through the gas and dust that blocks the object from view.

The Google Pixel Watch may have emerged as one of the top Android smartwatches, but the device is not without its issues, according to an article on Android Central. The most notable issue with the Pixel Watch is the recent confirmation that Google won't repair any damages or cracks to the watch's screen.

If there's something that Google wants you to know, it's that the defendant in the United States' most significant antitrust trial in 25 years is not a search monopoly established through unfair, anti-competitive means—and if people get that impression, it's only because all the other search engines suck. Google is, literally, just built differently, according to an article on Slate. Whew! This trial ought to be a wild ride, and one that's LONG overdue!

Credit: Marcel Drechsler, Xavier Strottner and Yann Sainty

The Royal Observatory Greenwich has announced the winners of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 15, during an award ceremony held Sept. 14, according to an article on As the world's largest astrophotography competition, Royal Observatory Greenwich divides winners into 11 categories, and from those chooses an overall winner.

Google will pay $93m to settle accusations of misleading consumers on how and when their location information was being tracked and stored, a considerable payout for the tech giant that followed a years-long investigation into its data practices, according to an article on The Guardian.

A "ring of fire" solar eclipse will be visible in parts of the United States and Mexico on October 14, according to NASA. The annular solar eclipse will be visible in Oregon, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Texas, as well as some parts of California, Idaho, Colorado and Arizona, NASA predicted. During the eclipse, the sun appears as a "ring of fire" in the sky.

Credit: NASA

NASA's OSIRIS-REx will release an asteroid sample capsule this September, aiming for a landing in the Great Salt Lake Desert, with teams ready to address challenges during its descent and recovery, according to an article on SciTechDaily. After traveling billions of miles through our solar system, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will cruise past Earth with an extraordinary delivery. As it passes, it will release a mini-fridge size capsule containing a sample of primordial space rock collected from an asteroid located between the orbits of Earth and Mars.

Various bacterial species have demonstrated an extraordinary ability to degrade plastics, which are synthetic polymers known for their long-lasting and non-biodegradable characteristics. Now, researchers from North Carolina State University have put to use the remarkable biological traits of two bacterial species to enable efficient plastic breakdown in saltwater, according to an article from Interesting Engineering. This genetically engineered microorganism can break down a type of plastic known as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which contributes significantly to microplastic pollution in the global oceans. PET is widely used to manufacture many items, including water bottles and clothing.

The three-body problem is a notoriously tricky puzzle in physics and mathematics, and an example of just how complex the natural world is. Two objects orbiting each other, like a lone planet around a star, can be described with just a line or two of mathematical equations. Add a third body, though, and the math becomes much harder. Because each object influences the others with its gravity, calculating a stable orbit where all three objects get along is a complex feat. Now, an international team of mathematicians claims to have found 12,000 new solutions to the infamous problem — a substantial addition to the hundreds of previously known scenarios, according to an article from Live Science. Their work was published as a preprint to the database arXiv, meaning it has not yet undergone peer review.

Credit: NASA

NASA's Perseverance rover has done the unthinkable. Or, at least, a small device on the rover has. According to a tweet and article shared by NASA's Perseverance team on Twitter, a device known only as MOXIE has proven that we can generate oxygen on Mars using the planet's CO2-concentrated atmosphere, according to an article on BGR.

Do you remember the ubiquitous floppy disk? Of course you do. Tom Persky is the self-proclaimed "last man standing in the floppy disk business." He is the time-honored founder of, a US-based company dedicated to the selling and recycling of floppy disks, according to an article on Aiga Eye On Design. Other services include disk transfers, a recycling program, and selling used and/or broken floppy disks to artists around the world. All of this makes a key player in the small yet profitable contemporary floppy scene.

Are you "into" audio books? If so, Project Gutenberg has teamed up with Microsoft to create nearly 5,000 new FREE audiobooks of classic literature. They employed AI technology and Microsoft's Text-To-Speech engine to create "natural sounding" audio recordings of the works. The project is called "The Project Gutenberg Open Audiobook Collection," and its homepage is here. In a quick review of the available titles, I found audio books of works by Jules Verne, Mark Twain, William Shakespeare, and many others among the offerings. Go here to access the new audiobooks. You can also access them from the Internet Archive. While you can tell that it is a computer-generated "voice," the recordings do have natural speech inflection patterns, and won't be too hard to listen to.

The Department of Health and Human Services said that it is reopening its website on Sept. 25, according to an article on NBC News. Households can order the tests to be delivered to their homes, free of charge. The announcement comes as COVID cases rise in the United States — and as many people are realizing the tests they've long had on hand have expired. People can check whether the expiration date on their tests have been extended on the Food and Drug Administration's website. The mailed tests will also include instructions on how to look up extended expiration dates.

A new report reveals that in 2022, 47.4% of all internet traffic came from bots, a 5.1% increase over the previous year, according to an article from Security Magazine. The same report showed that human traffic, at 52.6%, decreased to its lowest level in eight years. Imperva released its 10th annual Bad Bot Report, a global analysis of automated bot traffic across the internet. The annual report provides security and business leaders with information about the evolution of bot technology and automated traffic. This year's report also documents milestones in the evolution of bad bot technology. For the fourth consecutive year, the volume of bad bot traffic — malicious automated software applications capable of high-speed abuse, misuse and attacks — grew to 30.2%, a 2.5% increase over 2021.

Researchers in Japan said they'd developed an AI system that could understand the emotional state of chickens, according to an article from Business Insider. The study, which was led by University of Tokyo professor Adrian David Cheok, has yet to be peer-reviewed. The AI system is based on a technique the researchers called "Deep Emotional Analysis Learning," which can adapt to changing vocal patterns. The study found that the system was capable of translating "various emotional states in chickens, including hunger, fear, anger, contentment, excitement, and distress."

Previous Page              Top              Next Page