Spotify for Windows 10 – finally available in the store

Microsoft announced that Spotify for Windows 10 is now available to download in the Windows Store*. Microsoft announced their partnership with Spotify in early May and is  bringing the Spotify app to Windows 10 and Windows 10 S customers following on the heels of the release of Surface Laptop and Windows 10 S last week. The Spotify app is available today in all 60 countries where Spotify is available and offers the same familiar experiences as the Win32 application**.

With Spotify on Windows 10, you can enjoy, discover and share millions of songs wherever and whenever you want. Make and share your own playlists, or let Spotify suggest something great for you. Listen for free or subscribe to Premium for higher quality listening and to take your music offline

*PCs and tablets. To download this app, your PC or tablet must be running the Windows 10 Anniversary Update or greater. 

**The Spotify app for Windows 10 is available in the following markets, Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Uruguay, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Windows 10 Insider – Gaming improvements

Windows 10 logo

Microsoft released a new Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16226 for PC to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring yesterday.  They have spent some time on making improvements for gamers this time. cross-platform multi-player could become a less exotic thing.

Gaming Improvements

New help options: We have added a new “Xbox Networking” section under Settings > Gaming. Here, we’ll help you attempt to identify and resolve issues preventing you from using voice chatting and playing multiplayer games with other Xbox Live users.

 

Track your GPU performance

For the Task Manager fans out there, we’re happy to share that we’ve heard your feedback and we’ve updated Task Manager to now include GPU info. Our engineering team used the feedback you gave us that is part of this Feedback Collection https://aka.ms/olx5pn to prioritize and to design the feature – thank you! The Performance tab shows GPU utilization information for each separate GPU component (such as 3D and Video encode/decode), as well as graphics memory usage stats. The Details tab shows you GPU utilization info for each process. Please note that this feature is still under construction and you will find issues and bugs.

Kodi and SMBv1 – how to jump into the 21st century

Kodi logo

What is it?

The Server Message Block (SMB) protocol is a network file sharing protocol that allows applications on a computer to read and write to files and to request services from server programs in a computer network. The SMB protocol can be used on top of its TCP/IP protocol or other network protocols. Using the SMB protocol, an application or the user can access files or other resources at a remote server. This allows applications to read, create, and update files on the remote server. It can also communicate with any server program that is set up to receive an SMB client request.

What versions are out there?

The original SMB1 protocol is nearly 30 years old, and like much of the software made in the 80’s, it was designed for a world that no longer exists.

The SMBv2 protocol was introduced in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. The SMBv3 protocol was introduced in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.

WannaCry

Almost everyone has heard of WannaCry in the recent weeks, an exploit that propagates EternalBlue, made by the NSA and lost by the NSA, an exploit of Windows’ Server Message Block (SMB) protocol.

WannaCry is made less harmful by patching Microsoft’s Operating Systems, disabling SMBv1 and blocking all versions of SMB at the network boundary by blocking TCP port 445 with related protocols on UDP ports 137-138 and TCP port 139, for all boundary devices.

 

How to enable or disable SMB protocols on the Windows SMB server

If you are running Windows Server you can use the Set-SMBServerConfiguration Windows PowerShell cmdlet. The cmdlet enables you to enable or disable the SMBv1, SMBv2, and SMBv3 protocols on the server component. You do not have to restart the computer after you run the Set-SMBServerConfiguration cmdlet.

To obtain the current state of the SMB server protocol configuration, run the following cmdlet:

Get-SmbServerConfiguration | Select EnableSMB1Protocol, EnableSMB2Protocol

To disable SMBv1 on the SMB server, run the following cmdlet:

Set-SmbServerConfiguration -EnableSMB1Protocol $false
Notes
  • You must run these commands at an elevated command prompt.
  • You do not have to restart the computer after you make these changes.

 

To enable or disable SMB protocols on an SMB Server that is running a Windows Desktop OS use Windows PowerShell or Registry Editor.

To disable SMBv1 on the SMB server-side, run the following cmdlet:

Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKLM:\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Parameters" SMB1 -Type DWORD -Value 0 -Force
Notes
  • You must run these commands at an elevated command prompt.
  • You must restart the computer after you make these changes.

 

How to enable or disable SMB protocols on the Windows SMB client

Note

You might think a Windows Server has nothing to do with the client side of SMB but it uses the client to connect to other servers. So if you want to completely disable SMBv1 you also need to do the following on the Server OS.

To disable SMBv1 on the SMB client, run the following commands:

sc.exe config lanmanworkstation depend= bowser/mrxsmb20/nsi 
sc.exe config mrxsmb10 start= disabled
Notes
  • You must run these commands at an elevated command prompt.
  • You must restart the computer after you make these changes.

 

How to gracefully remove SMBv1 in Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows 2012 R2, and Windows Server 2016

If you are sure you do not need SMBv1 and will never need it you can also remove it from the OS.

If you are using Windows Server run the following cmdlet:

Remove-WindowsFeature FS-SMB1

If you are using a Windows Client IS run the following cmdlet:

Disable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName smb1protocol
Note
  • You must run these commands at an elevated command prompt.

 

 

When does Kodi come into play?

You might have read this so far and asked yourself what has this to do with Kodi? Well after I disabled SMBv1 on my free Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2016 (Blog Post coming soon) I noticed my OSMC Kodi client couldn’t access the libraries anymore.

That’s weird, OSMC is running a fairly new Linux kernel and is normally shipped with up to date packages. Samba 3.6 was the first version that made SMBv2 possible. Released at the end of 2011 this should have worked.

After a lot of time on the Kodi and OSMC forum it turns out that Kodi has some sort of its own smb configuration.

While normal Linux systems have the configuration file located in the /etc/samba/smb.conf file, it turns out that Kodi uses it own configuration file.

While bumping the system wide smb.conf file for Samba up to SMB2 or higher I was still unable to connect my Pi with OSMC to my Ubuntu Server running SMB3.

Using smbstatus you can get a report on current Samba connections

$ sudo smbstatus -b

The almost hidden .smb/smb.conf

Kodi has very poorly documented its own smb.conf file in the ~/.kodi/.smb/smb.conf location. This is the file that Kodi uses for its Samba configuration.

I started adding the option client min protocol = SMB2 to bypass SMB1. After this I still couldn’t make a connection with my files. Some people stated client max protocol = SMB3 should go along with the min setting. I also added client NTLMv2 auth = yes since this kinda is the default settings since Windows Server 2008.

After this I was able to connect with my Windows Server 2016 but still not with my Ubuntu Server. I downgraded the server protocol to SMB2 with server min protocol = SMB2 and things started to work.

$ sudo smbstatus -b

Samba version 4.3.11-Ubuntu
PID Username Group Machine Protocol Version
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1741 nobody nogroup 172.16.1.195 (ipv4:172.16.1.195:50393) Unknown (0x0311)
1758 nobody nogroup 172.16.1.187 (ipv4:172.16.1.187:47632) SMB3_00
1758 -1 -1 172.16.1.187 (ipv4:172.16.1.187:47632) SMB3_00

Nice to see the client is connecting with SMB3 while it wouldn’t connect while the server was on SMB3 level… interoperability… jeej! 😉

So after some time I ended with the following configuration file for my Linux computers:

smb.conf

[global]
 client min protocol = SMB2
 client max protocol = SMB3_11
 client NTLMv2 auth = yes
 server min protocol = SMB2

 

After-effects

Disabling SMBv1 in Kodi breaks the SMB browsing function. You will not be able to use the SMB browser to navigate through your network and shares. If you want to connect to a new source you will have to type smb://MyServer/MyShare/

Android Phones/Tables/Players will not be able to make use of the more secure servers. While the same mechanism is still there the Samba client shipped with Kodi is not able to connect to SMB2/3 shares. According a developer from Kodi their Samba version for Android is not compatible with it.

Android/data/org.xbmc.kodi/files/.smb/smb.conf

A bit snooping arround github shows they are probably using Samba 3.0 with a lot of patches. The good news is that three weeks ago they started some work with Samba 4.1.

Until that work is complete a workaround for Kodi on Android might be switching to NFS or going truly hardcore with mounting cifs on the Android system.

End of roaming charges for travellers in the EU in 2017

The European Parliament sealed the new rules on ending roaming charges in June 2017 and the first EU-wide net neutrality rules.

Roaming

The roaming charges will cease to exist in the EU as of 15 June 2017. Consumers will pay the same price for calls, texts and mobile data wherever they are travelling in the EU. Calling a friend when you are at home or in another EU country won’t make a difference on your bill.

Already from April 2016, roaming will become even cheaper: operators will only be able to charge a small additional amount to domestic prices up to €0.05 per minute of call made, €0.02 per SMS sent, and €0.05 per MB of data (excl. VAT).

How does roaming work in the EU?

When you travel to a foreign country and phone, text or surf online with your mobile phone or device using your home country’s SIM card, you are roaming. Your operator in your home country pays the operator in the foreign country for the use of their networks. The price paid between operators is called the wholesale roaming price. It represents a cost to the home country operator and therefore impact on consumers’ final bills. This is why the Commission has worked to limit wholesale roaming prices in the EU, in parallel to its work to directly limit the retail prices paid by the consumer.

While many counties have 3 or 4 Mobile Network Operators with different names many are somehow part of a larger holding or some sort of group. Roaming has been a huge money tree for these companies while it was clear for everyone that the extra costs are almost nothing.

Vodafone network

Deutsche Telekom network

With only the Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom we got 80% of the world covered. In Europe there are two other smaller but multi county operators.

Orange network
Telenor network

What are the different domestic prices for mobile services across the EU?

Europeans have different travel habits across the EU, and there are also different network costs in visited countries. A recent European Commission study (2016) also shows that consumer retail offers vary between Member States. For example, in 2016 the cheapest monthly deals offering 1GB of data, 600 minutes of calls and 225 SMS ranged from €60 in Hungary to €8 in Estonia (excl. VAT and any smartphone subsidy).

EU action against roaming charges

Since 2007, the European Commission has successfully worked to reduce the consumer price of roaming. This has changed the habits of many Europeans who previously used to switch their mobile phones off while travelling. In 2013, the European Commission proposed legislation to end roaming charges for people periodically travelling in the EU. In October 2015, the European Parliament and the Council agreed that this should be in place as of 15 June 2017

As of 15 June 2017, you will be able to use your mobile device when travelling in the EU, paying the same prices as at home, i.e. to roam like at home, subject to operators’ fair use policies. For instance, if you pay for a monthly package of minutes, SMS and data in your country, any voice call, SMS and data session you make while travelling abroad in the EU will be deducted from that volume as if you were at home, with no extra charges.

What have been the different decreases in roaming prices?

  • Since 2007, the EU has achieved retail price reductions across calls of 92%
  • Since 2009, the EU has achieved retail price reductions across SMS of 92%
  • Data roaming is now up to 96% cheaper compared to 2012 when the first EU retail price cap became applicable on data roaming.
  • Between 2008 and 2015, the volume of data roaming has been multiplied by more than 100.

Regulated Roaming tariffs 2007 – 2016

(€ excl. VAT)
  Voicecall made Voicecall received SMS Data Data
        Wholesale Retail
        MB MB
2007 0,49 0,24      
2008 0,46 0,22      
2009 0,43 0,19 0,11 1,00  
2010 0,39 0,15 0,11 0,80  
2011 0,35 0,11 0,11 0,50  
2012 0,29 0,08 0,09 0,25 0,70
2013 0,24 0,07 0,08 0,15 0,45
2014 0,19 0,05 0,06 0,05 0,20
2015 0,19 0,05 0,06 0,05 0,20
2016 domestic price + up to 0,05 0,0114 domestic price + up to 0,02 0,05 domestic price + up to 0,05

Net neutrality

The rules enshrine the principle of net neutrality into EU law: no blocking or throttling of online content, applications and services. It means that there will be truly common EU-wide internet rules, contributing to a single market and reversing current fragmentation.

Every European must be able to have access to the open internet and all content and service providers must be able to provide their services via a high-quality open internet. From the entry into force of the rules, blocking and throttling the internet will be illegal in the EU and users will be free to use their favourite apps no matter the offer they subscribe. Many mobile providers are blocking Skype, Facetime or similar apps or sometime they ask extra money for allowing these services: this will be illegal.

All traffic will be treated equally. This means, for example, that there can be no paid prioritisation of traffic in the internet access service. At the same time, equal treatment allows reasonable day-to-day traffic management according to justified technical requirements, and which must be independent of the origin or destination of the traffic and of any commercial considerations. Common rules on net neutrality mean that internet access providers cannot pick winners or losers on the internet, or decide which content and services are available.

 

Kodi 17.3 released – with critical security exploit fixed.

Kodi logo

May 22, 2017

Update from Kodi: Due to packaging issue after release some add-ons like PVR, visualisation and Inputstream are missing. Also on Ubuntu 14.04 an issue came to light. We will release v17.3 as soon as we can to solve this problem.

May 25, 2017

Sorry for this quick bump to v17.3 however we deemed it necessary. In the previous v17.2 we had a slight issue due to packaging certain binary add-ons like PVR, visualisation and Inputstream. Sadly we only uncovered this too late after release. Additionally on the older distros like Ubuntu 14.04 in combination with the available GCC 4.8 compiler an issue surfaced which we had to fix as well. This v17.3 release fixed both these issues and should be completely working again including the missing add-ons.

Fixes done in this release:

  • Fixed missing binary add-ons on release time
  • Fixed crash on older distros like Ubuntu 14.04 with GCC 4.8 compiler

From previous v17.2 release:

  • Fix selection after channelgroup switching in PVR guide window
  • Fix handling of gaps that caused eradic behaviour in EPG grid
  • Allow backing out of fullscreen pictures by mapping longpress guesture
  • Quick fix for wake up command not being called in PVR power management
  • Use alternative method to check if platform updates have been installed on Windows
  • Set the minimum version in the code which is currently OSX 10.8
  • Fix possible security flaw which could abused .zip files which try to traverse to a parent directory
  • Use the correct ttc font from the video file for subtitles on Windows
  • Detect and delete zero-byte database files which causes crashes

Security

You may have read in the news that malicious subtitle zip files could potentionally infect and harm your media player including Kodi. When Check Point researchers uncovered this flaw they contacted us up front to let us know about this flaw. Our developers fixed this secuity gap and have added the fix to this v17.2 release. As such we highly encourage all users to install this latest version! Any previous Kodi version will not get any security patch. We have began the roll out of this version and Android Play Store as well as Windows Store have this update pending and will roll out as soon as possible. Please be patient if you are using these store versions. Our official download page of course has the regular install files available for the supported platforms.

To be clear this possible vunrability is only present when you first enable a subtitle dowload add-on and then actually download zipped subtitles. Any subtitles that you already have as text file, are embedded in the video stream or are included with you DVD or Blurays are safe.

Only get static noise on Android?

if you have a Android device that only outputs static noise during playback we’d urge you to contact the manufacturer of your device. Recently we saw that Samsung released their Android 7.0 Nougat update for certain phone range that basically has broken audio support. This is something we as Team Kodi are not going to fix as it’s caused by a bug in their firmware. Only option you have is either stay at Kodi v16 or start contacting your device manufacturer and urge them to fix this issue.

Where can I download Kodi?

As alway you can find the official builds on our download page. Then click on the platform of choice and choose release build. You can install these build just on top of your current Kodi installation without doing a reinstall or cleanup as we do a full migration if needed. All you add-ons or installed skin will keep working.

Hacked: From Subtitles to Complete Takeover – Please update your players

Check Point researchers revealed a new attack vector which threatens millions of users worldwide – attack by subtitles. By crafting malicious subtitle files, which are then downloaded by a victim’s media player, attackers can take complete control over any type of device via vulnerabilities found in many popular streaming platforms, including VLC, Kodi (XBMC), Popcorn-Time and strem.io. We estimate there are approximately 200 million video players and streamers that currently run the vulnerable software, making this one of the most widespread, easily accessed and zero-resistance vulnerability reported in recent years.

Continue reading Hacked: From Subtitles to Complete Takeover – Please update your players

vSphere ESXi 6.x – Easy update for standalone servers

vmware

To upgrade a vSphere host using this method you need access the keyboard of your server or use SSH to perform the commands. By default, remote command execution is disabled on an ESXi host, and you cannot log in to the host by using a remote shell. You can enable remote command execution from the direct console or from the vSphere Web Client.

Enable SSH on vSphere 6.5 host

Upgrading ESXi with esxcli commands requires an understanding of VIBs, image profiles, and software depots.

VIB

A VIB is an ESXi software package. VIBs are available in software depots.

Image Profile

An image profile defines an ESXi image and consists of VIBs. An image profile always includes a base VIB, and might include more VIBs.

Software Depot

A software depot is a collection of VIBs and image profiles. The software depot is a hierarchy of files and folders and can be available through an HTTP URL (online depot) or a ZIP file (offline depot).

Note

If you press Ctrl+C while an esxcli command is running, the command-line interface exits to a new prompt without displaying a message. However, the command continues to run to completion.

Continue reading vSphere ESXi 6.x – Easy update for standalone servers

Netflix ISP Speed Index – Nederland

ISP (Internet Speed Index) for Prime Time Netflix performance  – March 2017

RANK ISP SPEED Mbps PREVIOUS Mbps RANK CHANGE TYPE

1 Ziggo 4.21 4.20 No change

Cable

2 Ziggo (former UPC) 4.20 4.19 +1
Cable
3 Caiway 4.19 4.19 -1
Fiber

Cable

4 ZeelandNet 4.17 4.17 No change

Cable

5 T-Mobile Thuis 4.02 4.04 No change

Fiber

6 KPN 3.99 3.99 No change
Fiber

DSL

7 Xs4all 3.88 3.88 No change
Fiber

DSL

8 Tele2 3.63 3.60 No change
Fiber

DSL

9 Online 3.55 3.52 No change
Fiber

DSL

  • Since december Netflix bandwidth has gone up and seems to stay this way.
  • UPC users should be really happy with the merged with Ziggo in 2016.
  • KPN seems to do a little traffic shaping.
  • Xs4All surprised me, they are known to be the goto ones but clearly lack behind. On their website they are saying that Netflix will go over the open internet and quality will depend on the available bandwidth. I don’t think so…
  • The Ziggo average speed is the 3rd fastest in the world.

The Difference between Google Chrome and Chromium on Linux

Google Now Launcher

Chromium on Linux has two general flavors: You can either get Google Chrome or chromium-browser (see Linux Chromium Packages.

In short, Google Chrome is the Chromium open source project built, packaged, and distributed by Google. This table lists what Google adds to the Google Chrome builds on Linux.

 

Google Chrome

Chromium

  • Colorful logo
  • Blue logo
  • Reports crashes only if turned on. Please include symbolized backtraces in bug reports if you don’t have crash reporting turned on.
  • Does not ever report crashes. Please include symbolized backtraces in bug reports.
  • User metrics only if turned on
  • User metrics are never reported.
Video and Audio codecs (may vary by distro)

  • AAC, H.264, MP3, Opus, Theora, Vorbis, VP8, VP9, and WAV
Video and Audio codecs (may vary by distro)

  • Opus, Theora, Vorbis, VP8, VP9, and WAV by default
  • Sandboxed PPAPI (non-free) Flash plugin included in release
  • Supports NPAPI (unsandboxed) Flash plugins, including the one from Adobe in Chrome 34 and below
  • Code is tested by Chrome developers
  • Code may be modified by distributions
  • Sandbox is always on
  • Sandbox depends on the distribution (navigate to about:sandbox to confirm)
  • Single deb/rpm package
  • Packaging depends on the distribution
  • Profile is kept in ~/.config/google-chrome
  • Profile is kept in ~/.config/chromium
  • Cache is kept in ~/.cache/google-chrome
  • Cache is kept in ~/.cache/chromium
  • New releases are tested before being sent to users
New release testing depends on the distribution

  • Distributions are encouraged to track stable channel releases
  • Google API keys are added by Google

  • Google API keys depend on the distribution.

 

12TB HDD are available from now on.

Western Digital today announced that it has begun shipping its fourth-generation helium-based hard drive with its 12TB HGST-branded Ultrastar® He12 hard drive. The Ultrastar He12 12TB hard drive is the next generation of the company’s high capacity enterprise-class drive with HelioSeal technology, providing customers with a data storage solution addressing the expansive information management needs and demanding performance requirements of today’s enterprise, cloud and hyperscale workloads.

Features and Specifications:

Ultrastar He12 Helium HDD

  • HelioSeal: Western Digital’s fourth generation, based on exclusive HelioSeal technology, bringing the highest capacity HDD to market much sooner than competing technologies
  • World’s first 8-disk design, 12TB capacity, available with either 12Gb/s SAS or 6Gb/s SATA interface
  • Data Security: Instant Secure Erase, sanitize and safely redeploy HDDs using the Instant Secure Erase feature
  • 54% lower idle watts/TB than 8TB air-filled drives
  • SED Features: Help protect end user data with encryption (Self Encrypting Drive)
  • Reliability: Amongst the industry’s highest MTBF rating at 2.5M hours

The Ultrastar He12 HDD is currently shipping to distribution and comes with a 5-year limited warranty. For more information on the He12 12TB drive, visit: http://www.hgst.com/products/hard-drives/ultrastar-he12