Tuesday, November 15, 2016

How to quickly deploy an OpenVPN server


Don't let a VPN server deployment bog you down. See how to get one up and running quickly with a TurnKey Linux solution.

By Jack Wallen | November 14, 2016, 12:20 PM PST
If your business has grown to the point where you need to offer a VPN to your employees, the thought of spending either the money or the time deploying such a solution might send you into apoplectic fits. It doesn't have to—there are so many incredible solutions available, some of which are free and even easy to unleash.

One such solution is OpenVPN. With this server software, you can either install it onto an existing platform, or you can opt to go the virtual route with a virtual appliance. I find that the easiest path to success is to use the TurnKey Linux OpenVPN virtual appliance. With this solution, you can spin up a VPN in a few minutes.

Let's walk through the process of launching the OpenVPN VM with the help of VirtualBox.

Importing the virtual appliance

The first thing you must do is download the appliance file. Once you have that file on your host machine, unzip it. Now you must import the .ova file into VirtualBox. To do this, open VirtualBox and click File | Import Appliance. When prompted, click the File icon and, from your file manager, navigate to and select the turnkey-openvpn-XXX-jessie-amd64.ova file (XXX is the release number). Click Next in the import wizard and then go through the default settings (Figure A).

Figure A

The default settings for the OpenVPN virtual appliance.

The one setting you'll probably want to change is the default allocated RAM (the default is only 512MB). Double-click that entry and bump it up to what you feel is adequate for your needs. Once you've done that, click Import, and the process will complete.
Starting the VM

Select the TURNKEY OPENVPN from the left navigation and click Start. During the startup process, you'll be asked to enter a password for the root user (Figure B). Type in a password (make it challenging) and hit Enter on your keyboard.

Figure B

Setting a password for the root user account.

Next you'll be required to select a profile for the server (Figure C). You can select from:
Server: This profile accepts VPN connections from clients and optionally configures a private subnet behind the OpenVPN enabling client access.
Gateway: This profile accepts VPN connections from clients and automatically configures connecting clients to route all their traffic through the VPN.
Client: This profile initiates VPN connections to an OpenVPN server.

Figure C

Select your choice of Server, Gateway, or Client.

Your selection will depend upon the needs of your network and your clients, but more than likely the Server option will suffice.

Now follow these steps.
Enter an email address for the OpenVPN server key.
Configure an IP address or FQDN that will enable clients to reach the VPN.
Enter a Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR) subnet address pool to be used by your VPN. (This will be in the form of Make sure that entry is specific to your networking needs.)
Supply the CIDR subnet that will exist behind the server that the clients will reach (this address will be in the same form as the previous CIDR address).

Once you hit Enter after setting the second CIDR address, walk away from the machine, as it will take awhile to complete the final phase of the process. When you're presented with the TurnKey Backup and Migration page, tab down to Skip and hit Enter. The last thing to do is enter an email address that will receive all local system notifications; type the address and hit Enter (you can skip this step).

Before you can log into your OpenVPN server, you'll be prompted to either install or skip any available updates to the system. I highly recommend you install these updates. This process can take quite awhile, so step away again and allow the updates to complete. When the updates finish, reboot the machine. Once the machine reboots, you'll be presented with all the information you need to connect to your VPN (Figure D). Your OpenVPN server is up and running and ready for configuration.

Figure D

Your connection information for your OpenVPN server.
Final steps

I highly recommend you log into the Webmin address (with username root and the password you set during installation), so you can further configure the virtual appliance. You will not find a GUI frontend for configuring the OpenVPN server here—for this, check out the /etc/openvpn/server.conf file. To do that, you'll need to secure shell into the server (information on connecting is presented to you once boot up has finished). Once logged in, you can edit the config file and add users with the openvpn-addclient USER EMAIL_ADDRESScommand (USER is a username and EMAIL_ADDRESS is the client's email address)

How to connect a Linux machine to Google Cloud Print

Google Cloud Print

connect a Linux machine to Google Cloud Print

By Jack Wallen | November 14, 2016, 8:55 AM PST

For a quick and easy way to extend your Linux printer server to your Google Cloud Print account, follow the steps in this tutorial.

If you have a Linux printer server, and you need to enable users to be able to print to your cloud-based printers, one easy method is to attach CUPS to a Google Account for use with Google Cloud Print. Great solution, right? But how do you pull that off?

Someone in the Linux community has made it not only possible, but easy. Let me walk you through the steps of connecting your CUPS printer server to a Google Cloud Print account.

I will be doing this on a Ubuntu 16.10 machine. The necessary software is available for Ubuntu as well as rpm-based distributions, Arch Linux, Gentoo, Portage ebuild, OS X, FreeBSD, and more.

The first thing you must do is install the necessary package. To do this, we must add a repository. Open your terminal window and issue the command:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:simon-cadman/niftyrepo

Now, update apt with the command:sudo apt-get update

Finally, install the software with the command:sudo apt-get install cupscloudprint

Once the installation is ready, you can connect your server to the Google Cloud Print account.

Connecting to your account

The developer of cupscloudprint has made this task incredibly simple. Go back to your terminal window and issue the command:sudo /usr/share/cloudprint-cups/setupcloudprint.py

The first thing that will happen is you'll be prompted to enter the email address associated with the cloud account. Type that address and hit enter. Next you'll be given a link to copy and paste into your browser (Figure A).

Figure A

Copy and paste the provided link into the browser.

If you haven't logged into your Google account from this browser, you'll be prompted for that information; otherwise, you'll be asked to Allow CUPS Cloud Print to manage your printers.
Click Allow.
You'll be given a code; copy that code and paste it into the terminal window at the Code From Google: prompt.
The command will output the accounts you currently have configured for Cloud Print. If you're happy with that, type y and hit Enter.
You'll be asked if you want to add all the printers associated with your account. Type y and hit Enter.
Once the printers have been added, you'll be asked if you want to use a prefix for the printers. If you do, type y, hit Enter, and then enter the necessary prefix; otherwise, type n and hit Enter.

Any printer you have associated with Google Cloud Print is now available to your Linux printer server. Quite painless, wouldn't you say?
Extending your printer server

What better way to extend your Linux printer server than to connect it to your Google Cloud Print account? With this setup, you can easily print to different locations (even in different states), so you don't have to expend the resources connecting printers to VPNs or other, costlier and complex, solutions.

IBM, NVIDIA partner for 'fastest deep learning enterprise solution' in the world

IBM tech

By Conner Forrest | November 14, 2016, 7:25 AM PST

IBM and NVIDIA recently teamed up to announce IBM PowerAI, a software toolkit that accelerates machine training for AI solutions and will boost IBM Watson's capabilities.

IBM PowerAI, a new deep learning software toolkit announced Monday, could help train computers for machine learning and AI tasks faster than ever before. The solution, a joint project from IBM and NVIDIA, runs on an IBM server built specifically for AI and uses NVIDIA NVLink as well.

According to a press email announcing the availability of the solution, IBM PowerAI is the "world's fastest deep learning enterprise solution," and it will "help train computers to think and learn in more human-like ways at a faster pace."

This new toolkit was designed to work with IBM's Power Systems LC lineup of Linux servers, specifically the IBM Power S822LC for High Performance Computing (HPC). That server has NVIDIA's latest GPU technology on board, which helps further its potential for use in deep learning and AI applications.

While this new product is geared toward "emerging computing methods of artificial intelligence" like deep learning, it also has implications for IBM's better-known cognitive computing project, Watson. IBM PowerAI will bolster Watson's enterprise AI skills by providing the platform with additional training.

"PowerAI democratizes deep learning and other advanced analytic technologies by giving enterprise data scientists and research scientists alike an easy to deploy platform to rapidly advance their journey on AI," Ken King, general manager for OpenPOWER, said in the email. "Coupled with our high performance computing servers built for AI, IBM provides what we believe is the best platform for enterprises building AI-based software, whether it's chatbots for customer engagement, or real-time analysis of social media data."

Of course, none of this matters if there aren't real-life applications for the technology. In the press email, IBM noted that technologies such as the deep learning this toolkit provides have been used for fraud protection in banks, facial recognition applications, and even in self-driving cars.

In the past, IBM Watson has been used in verticals like healthcare, legal, finance, retail, cybersecurity, and even fantasy football. So, it's possible that we will see IBM PowerAI in these fields as well.

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Existing IBM customers who have IBM's Power S822LC for HPC server can access IBM PowerAI immediately at no additional charge, the email said.
The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

IBM and NVIDIA recently partnered on IBM PowerAI, a new software toolkit, to accelerate deep learning initiatives in business.
PowerAI is meant to run on the IBM Power S822LC for High Performance Computing and exists as a separate product, but will work with Watson.
IBM sees these deep learning technologies as important to verticals like healthcare, finance, retail, and self-driving cars.

After Facebook, Google shows fake news in search results, admits it needs to improve

After Facebook, Google shows fake news in search results, admits it needs to improve

Image: Reuters
Google’s search engine highlighted an inaccurate story claiming that President-elect Donald Trump won the popular vote in last week’s election, the latest example of bogus information spread by the internet’s gatekeepers. The incorrect results were shown Monday in a two-day-old story posted on the pro-Trump “70 News” site. A link to the site appeared at or near the top of Google’s influential rankings of relevant news stories for searches on the final election results.
Google acknowledged the problem, although as of mid-afternoon Monday, the link to “70 News” remained prominent in its results. Although Google rarely removes content from its search results, the company is taking steps to punish sites that manufacture falsehoods. In a move disclosed Monday, Google says it will prevent its lucrative digital ads from appearing on sites that “misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information.” The action could give sites a bigger incentive to get things right or risk losing a valuable source of revenue.
Fake News on Steroids
False information is nothing new on the internet, where debunkers have been batting down unfounded claims and urban legends for more than two decades. But the problem has gained more attention in the post-mortem of a bitterly contested presidential election in which Trump, a Republican billionaire and former reality TV star, defeated Hillary Clinton, a Democrat and former U.S. secretary of state who had been leading in the polls.
Trump wound up prevailing in enough key states to win the Electoral College’s decisive vote, but is trailing Clinton in the overall popular vote with some ballots still being counted. Clinton’s lead in the popular vote has become one of the flashpoints in the protests against Trump’s election being staged in cities across the country. Google is just the latest company in the crosshairs. Fake news stories uncritically circulated during and after the election on Facebook have sparked a debate over the role of social media companies, which are key sources of news for large numbers of people. Critics suggest that these companies should be more careful to ensure they aren’t passing along misleading information.
Social Media and the News
Google’s dominant search engine is the leading source of traffic to media sites, according to the online analytics firm Chartbeat. Meanwhile, a study by the Pew Research Center found about 60 percent of Americans get at least some of their news from social media sites such as Facebook, which now has 178 million users in the U.S. and Canada. In the election’s aftermath, Facebook has been accused of possibly swaying the election’s outcome by promoting fake news stories on its social network. Last summer, the company fired a handful of journalists who oversaw its “trending” news list and replaced them with an algorithm; fake news stories quickly began to trend.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg brushed off that criticism as “crazy” in an appearance last week. He elaborated in a Saturday post on Facebook in which he asserted that “more than 99 percent of what people see” on Facebook is authentic. Zuckerberg conceded more needs to be done to block bogus information, but said that determining what’s blatantly wrong isn’t always an easy task.
“Identifying the ‘truth’ is complicated,” Zuckerberg wrote. “While some hoaxes can be completely debunked, a greater amount of content, including from mainstream sources, often gets the basic idea right but some details wrong or omitted.” The stories featured in the feeds of Facebook users are primarily selected by automated formulas known as algorithms. Google’s search results are also powered by algorithms that the company regularly revises to thwart sites that attempt to artificially boost their prominence.
More, better Algorithms? 
Google conceded its search engine misfired with the 70 News story that falsely declared Trump the popular vote winner in both its headline and the body of the text. “In this case we clearly didn’t get it right, but we are continually working to improve our algorithms,” the company said in a statement. Bad information in an online headline or at the top of a story can be particularly damaging. Roughly 53 percent of the people who land on a web page stay for 15 seconds or less, according to Chartbeat’s findings.
Incorrect information is bound to ripple across the internet as more people rely on their phones, computers and other digital devices to read news that is picked out for them by automated programs, said media analyst Ken Doctor of Newsonomics.
“What we are seeing is the failure of the algorithm,” Doctor said. “These algorithms bring a lot of things into our lives that humans cannot do. But when algorithms fail, it highlights the fact that they are not just some kind of neutral technology. They are programmed by human beings and they have all the failings of human beings.” It’s difficult to know what happened when an algorithm goes awry because Google, Facebook and other internet companies closely guard how they work, much the way Coca-Cola protects the recipe for its soda.
But the growing power that Google and Facebook hold over the flow of information could increase the political pressure for them to be held more accountable, Doctor said.
In the meantime, most people remain skeptical about what they read online. Only 4 percent of Americans have a lot of confidence in what they read on social media sites, according to Pew. Local news organizations fared better in Pew Research’s survey earlier this year, with 22 percent of Americans saying they trusted the information there.

WhatsApp announced staged rollout of Video Calling feature for everyone in coming weeks

WhatsApp announced staged rollout of Video Calling feature for everyone in coming weeks

WhatsApp will start the roll-out of ‘Video Calling’ in coming weeks in stages. The company was working on the video calling featured behind in closed beta test since last 4-5 months. It launched the features as a hidden feature for Android Beta users last month and we tried the quality and reliability of the feature as soon as it was rolled out. This rollout will be for everyone across Android, iPhone and Windows Phone devices.
WhatsApp video calling
WhatsApp video calling
The company detailed that the feature has been frequently requested by users all across the world. This comes as a natural step in the feature evolution for WhatsApp after the introduction to Group Chats, Voice calling and most recently the launch of web and Windows client for users. WhatsApp users can converse with each other using the feature without having to go to any other VoIP platform like Skype or Viber.
Mr. Neeraj Arora, Head of Business, WhatsApp and Mr. Manpreet Singh Image Credit: WhatsApp
Mr. Neeraj Arora, Head of Business, WhatsApp and Mr. Manpreet Singh
Image Credit: WhatsApp
“Video calling is one of the most requested features from people in India. We’re proud to have the opportunity to launch this feature in India, where we now have 160 million users, and we look forward to seeing people use WhatsApp to talk to their friends and loved ones face to face,” added Jan Koum, CEO and Co-Founder for WhatsApp. The company is working on additional features like ‘Two-Step Verification‘, GIF search inside the app and a new Snapchat ‘Snaps’ like ‘Status’ feature that will allow users to share distructable images or videos to the contact list or individual WhatsApp contacts.

Skype lets you connect with others without creating an account

Skype lets you connect with others without creating an account

The newest announcement from Microsoft will let users easily connect with users, even without creating an account or downloading the client. So, you can simply join in as guest to access its features such as chat, voice and video calls.
To get started, one will have to head to Skype.com, tap to start a conversation and add your name. Skype will then provide you with a unique conversation link, something similar to how Google let you invite non-Google users to Hangouts. The link can be shared with contacts. You can do so using email and social media, and share with individuals as well as groups. On sharing the links, you can then join the conversation as well as as the guest.
Microsoft will let users invite up to 300 people to chat, while up to 25 people on voice and video calls. And, all of this for free. Skype for web supports several features which include one to one group instant messaging, voice and video calls, screen sharing, file sharing and more.
There is another set of reports  circulating online that claim Skype suffered outage on 14 November. The reports furthermore add that some people are still facing difficulty sending messages on Skype chat. However, the engineers claim the problem has been ‘temporarily’fixed.

Facebook denies it distributed fake news to help Trump win

Facebook denies it distributed fake news to help Trump win

Image: Reuters
Hit by charges that the social media giant distributed fake news which helped Donald Trump win the US presidential election, Facebook on Tuesday denied any such charges. According to TechCrunch, Facebook “did not build and withhold any News Feed changes based on their potential impact on any one political party”. “It developed two versions of a fix for clickbait this year, and decided to trust algorithmic machine learning detection instead of only user behaviour,” the report said, quoting a Facebook spokesperson.
Media reports said earlier that Facebook shelved a planned update earlier this year that could have identified fake news. TechCrunch now reports that in January 2015, Facebook rolled out an update designed to combat hoax news stories. In August, Facebook released another News Feed update designed to reduce clickbait stories. “Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99 per cent of what people see is authentic. Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes. The hoaxes that do exist are not limited to one partisan view, or even to politics,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said earlier.
According to Facebook, “We always work to make News Feed more meaningful and informative, and that includes examining the quality and accuracy of items shared, such as clickbait, spam and hoaxes”. According to Trump, Facebook and Twitter helped him secure victory. Speaking on CBS’ 60 Minutes programme last weekend, he said: “The fact that I have such power in terms of numbers with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. I think it helped me win all of these races where they’re spending much more money than I spent. I think that social media has more power than the money they spent.”
Trump specified that he has more than 28 million followers across various social media platforms, and said that he was getting more each day.

Apple pay makes it easy to donate to nonprofits

Apple pay makes it easy to donate to nonprofits

Image: Apple
In a bid to help charity organisations get seamless donations, Apple Pay has made it easier and secure to donate to non-profit organisations with just a touch. Apple Pay support for charitable donations kicked off on Tuesday with nonprofits ranging from global organisations such as Unicef and WWF. “We’re making it incredibly easy to give back with Apple Pay,” said Apple Pay’s Vice President Jennifer Bailey.
“We think offering such a simple and secure way to support the incredible work nonprofits will have a significant impact on the communities they serve,” Bailey added. More nonprofits will offer Apple Pay over the coming months so their supporters can make easy, secure and private payments, the Cupertino-based company said in a statement. “We are thrilled that more people will help WWF tackle urgent conservation issues this holiday season and beyond with their donations via Apple Pay,” said Senior Vice President Terry Macko of Marketing and Communications, WWF.
David Miliband, President and CEO, International Rescue Committee, said: “Apple Pay gives supporters an easier way to help achieve our mission of helping the world’s most vulnerable people.” In the few seconds it takes to use Apple Pay to donate, you can help save a child from hunger and disease or give them clean water to drink, added Caryl M. Stern, CEO and president, the US Fund for Unicef.

Samsung announces plans to buy Harman for $8 billion to boost in-car tech

Samsung announces plans to buy Harman for $8 billion to boost in-car tech

Image: Reuters
Samsung has announced that it will be buying US audio company Harman for $8 billion. It will be an all cash transaction making it one of the biggest acquisitions for Samsung. Interestingly the Korean giant wants to make use of this takeover to accelerate the growth in automotive and connected car technologies.
Harman owns a bunch of audio based brands including Harman Kardon, AKG, and JBL. WIth this acquisition, the company is expected to double its revenue in the coming five years. It already has ties with big brands like Fiat Chrysler and General Motors with backlog orders worth approximately $24 billion dated 30 June 2016.
Samsung believes that its expertise in connected mobility, semiconductors, user experience and displays will leverage Harman’s in-vehicle technologies department. It also added that the partnership will be utilised to elevate user experiences across Samsung’s complete portfolio of consumer and professional products and systems.
Dinesh Paliwal, Harman Chairman, President and CEO, stated, “This compelling all-cash transaction will deliver significant and immediate value to our shareholders and provide new opportunities for our employees as part of a larger, more diversified company. Today’s announcement is a testament to what we have achieved and the value that we have created for shareholders. Samsung is an ideal partner for Harman and this transaction will provide tremendous benefits to our automotive customers and consumers around the world.
Combining Samsung’s strengths in leading-edge displays, connectivity and processing solutions with Harman’s technology leadership and long-standing customer relationships will enable OEMs to provide new offerings for their customers. Partnerships and scale are essential to winning over the long term in automotive as demand for robust connected car and autonomous driving solutions increases at a rapid pace.
This transaction will bring Harman and Samsung’s complementary strengths together to accelerate innovation in this space. More broadly, this investment underscores the strength of Harman’s employees, as well as our success and leadership across our markets. We look forward to working together with Samsung to elevate experiences for consumers worldwide.”
This is an interesting move by the Korean giant following one of the biggest recalls in smartphone history. Clearly the company is not shaken by the incident. The connected automotive industry has seen a jump in the recent past as carmakers have focused on embedding high-end infotainment systems for an enhanced user experience. The partnership could actually be a win-win for both the companies.

Internet Companies write a letter to Trump asking support for encryption and immigration reform

Internet Companies write a letter to Trump asking support for encryption and immigration reform

Image Credit: REUTERS
U.S. internet companies including Facebook Inc and Amazon Inc have sent President-elect Donald Trump a detailed list of their policy priorities, which includes promoting strong encryption, immigration reform and maintaining liability protections from content that users share on their platforms.
The letter sent on Monday by the Internet Association, a trade group whose 40 members also include Alphabet’s Google, Uber and Twitter, represents an early effort to repair the relationship between the technology sector and Trump, who was almost universally disliked and at times denounced in Silicon Valley during the presidential campaign. “The internet industry looks forward to engaging in an open and productive dialogue,” reads the letter, signed by Michael Beckerman, president of the Internet Association, and seen by Reuters.
Some of the policy goals stated in the letter may align with Trump’s priorities, including easing regulation on the sharing economy, lowering taxes on profits made from intellectual property and applying pressure on Europe to not erect too many barriers that restrict U.S. internet companies from growing in that market. Other goals are likely to clash with Trump, who offered numerous broadsides against the tech sector during his campaign.
They include supporting strong encryption in products against efforts by law enforcement agencies to mandate access to data for criminal investigations, upholding recent reforms to U.S. government surveillance programs that ended the bulk collection of call data by the National Security Agency, and maintaining net neutrality rules that require internet service providers to treat web traffic equally.
The association seeks immigration reform to support more high-skilled workers staying in the United States. Though Trump made tougher immigration policies a central theme of his campaign, he has at times shied away from arguing against more H-1B visas for skilled workers, saying in a March debate he was “softening the position because we need to have talented people in this country.”
While urging support for trade agreements, the letter does not mention the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Trump has repeatedly assailed with claims it was poorly negotiated and would take jobs away from U.S. workers. The technology sector supported the deal, but members of Congress have conceded since the election it is not going to be enacted.
Trump’s often-shifting policy proposals on the campaign trail frequently alarmed tech companies and sometimes elicited public mockery, such as when Trump called for closing off parts of the internet to limit militant Islamist propaganda.

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