• Bluetooth stack modifications to improve audio quality on headphones without AAC, aptX, or LDAC codecs

      Before reading this article, it is recommended to read the previous one: Audio over Bluetooth: most detailed information about profiles, codecs, and devices / по-русски

      Some wireless headphone users note low sound quality and lack of high frequencies when using the standard Bluetooth SBC codec, which is supported by all headphones and other Bluetooth audio devices. A common recommendation to get better sound quality is to buy devices and headphones with aptX or LDAC codecs support. These codecs require licensing fees, that's why devices with them are more expensive.

      It turns out that the low quality of SBC is caused by artificial limitations of all current Bluetooth stacks and headphones' configuration, and this limitation can be circumvented on any existing device with software modification only.
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    • Audio over Bluetooth: most detailed information about profiles, codecs, and devices

        XKCD comic. How standards proliferate. SITUATION: there are 14 competing standards. Geek: 14?! Ridiculous! We need to develop one universal standard that covery everyone's use cases. Geek's girlfriend: yeah! SOON: Situation: there are 15 competing standards.

        This article is also available in Russian / Эта статья также доступна на русском языке

        The mass market of smartphones without the 3.5 mm audio jack changed headphones industry, wireless Bluetooth headphones have become the main way to listen to music and communicate in headset mode for many users.
        Bluetooth device manufacturers rarely disclose detailed product specifications, and Bluetooth audio articles on the Internet are contradictory and sometimes incorrect. They do not tell about all the features, and often publish the same false information.
        Let's try to understand the protocol, the capabilities of Bluetooth stacks, headphones and speakers, Bluetooth codecs for music and speech, find out what affects the quality of the transmitted audio and the delay, learn how to capture and decode information about supported codecs and other device features.

        TL;DR:

        • SBC codec is OK
        • Headphones have their own per-codec equalizer and post processing configuration
        • aptX is not as good as the advertisements say
        • LDAC is a marketing fluff
        • Voice audio quality is still low
        • Browsers are able to execute audio encoders compiled to WebAssembly from C using emscripten, and they won't even lag.

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      • Connect to Windows via SSH like in Linux

        • Tutorial
        The most depressing thing for me is to connect to Windows hosts. I'm not an opponent or a fan of Microsoft and their's products. Every product has its own purpose. But it is really painful for me to connect to Windows servers, because of 2 points: it is hard to configure (Hi WinRM with HTTPS), and it is really unstable (Hello RDP to VMs across the ocean).

        Fortunately, I found the project Win32-OpenSSH. I realized that I want to share my experience with it. I believe it will help somebody and save a lot of nerves.


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      • Signing into Azure DevOps using your GitHub credentials

          Across all of Microsoft, we are focusing on empowering developers to build better apps, faster. One way we are accomplishing that is by providing a range of products and services covering all stages of the software development lifecycle. This includes IDEs and DevOps tools, application and data platforms on the cloud, operating systems, Artificial Intelligence and IoT solutions, and more. All of these are centered around developers, both as individuals working in teams and organizations, and as members of developer communities.


          GitHub is one of the largest developer communities, and for millions of developers around the world their GitHub identity has become a critical aspect of their digital life. Recognizing that, we’re excited to announce improvements that will help GitHub users get started more easily with our developer services, including Azure DevOps and Azure.


          GitHub sign in button in Microsoft login page
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        • Speed up Ansible with Mitogen

          • Tutorial

          Speed up Ansible with Mitogen!


          Russian version


          Ansible is one of most popular Configuration Management Systems nowadays. After it was acquired by Red Hat in 2015 Ansible has reached numbers of thousands of contributors and became maybe one of most used deployment and orchestration tools. Its use-cases are quite impressive.


          Ansible works by SSH connections to remote hosts. It opens SSH session, logs in to the shell, copy python code via network and create a temporary file on remote hosts with this code. In the next step, it executes the current file with python interpreter. All this workflow is pretty heavy and there are multiple ways to make it faster and lighter.

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        • Long journey to Tox-rs. Part 1

            Tox logo

            Hi everyone!


            I like Tox and respect the participants of this project and their work. In an effort to help Tox developers and users, I looked into the code and noticed potential problems that could lead to a false sense of security. Since I originally published this article in 2016 (in Russian), many improvements have been made to Tox, and I lead a team that re-wrote secure Tox software from scratch using the Rust programming language (check out Tox-rs). I DO recommend using tox in 2019. Let's take a look what actually made us rewrite Tox in Rust.


            Original article of 2016


            There is an unhealthy tendency to overestimate the security of E2E systems only on the basis that they are E2E. I will present objective facts supplemented with my own comments for you to draw your own conclusions.


            Spoiler: The Tox developers agree with my points and my source code pull request was accepted.

            Here go facts:
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          • From High Ceph Latency to Kernel Patch with eBPF/BCC



              There are a lot of tools for debugging kernel and userspace programs in Linux. Most of them have performance impact and cannot easily be run in production environments. A few years ago, eBPF was developed, which provides the ability to trace the kernel and userspace with low overhead, without needing to recompile programs or load kernel modules.

              There are now plenty of tools that use eBPF and in this article, we’ll explain how to write your own profiling tool using the PythonBCC library. This article is based on a real issue from the production environment. We’ll walk you through solving the problem and show how existing bcc tools could be used in some cases.
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            • Windows Terminal Build 2019 FAQ

                Last week, Microsoft held its Build 2019 conference at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. Build is a large event with several thousand people from around the world attending to learn all about the current, newest, and future developer-oriented tech coming from Microsoft.


                We had the pleasure of meeting so many of you at our booth and answering all your questions!


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              • What is going to happen on February 1, 2020?

                  TL;DR: starting February 2020, DNS servers that don’t support DNS both over UDP and TCP may stop working.

                  Bangkok, in general, is a strange place to stay. Of course, it is warm there, rather cheap and some might find the cuisine interesting, along with the fact that about half of the world’s population does not need to apply for a visa in advance to get there. However, you still need to get acquainted with the smells, and the city streets are casting cyberpunk scenes more than anything else.

                  In particular, a photo to the left has been taken not far from the center of Thailand’ capital city, one street away from the Shangri-La hotel, where the 30th DNS-OARC organization meeting took place on May 12 and 13. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to security, stability, and overall development of the DNS — the Domain Name System.

                  Slides from the DNS-OARC 30 meeting are recommended for everyone interested in how the DNS works, though perhaps the most interesting is what is absent in those slides. Namely, a 45-minute round table with a discussion around the results of DNS Flag Day 2019, which occurred on February, 1, 2019.

                  And, the most impressive result of a round table is the decision to repeat DNS Flag Day once again.
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                • How to make possible micro-payments in your app

                  This week I spent coding my very first public pet-app based on Telegram chat bot which acts as a Bitcoin wallet and allows to send and receive tips between Telegram users and other so-called “Lightning Apps”. I assume that you are familiar with Bitcoin & Telegram in general, i’ll try to post short and without deep jump into details. More resources about Bitcoin can be found here and Telegram is simply an instant messenger that allows you to create your custom apps (chat-bots) using their platform.


                  What are the key points of such app?


                  • Allows to rate other users ideas and answers with real value instead of
                    ‘virtual likes’. This brings online conversation to completely new level
                  • Real example of working micro-payment app which can act with other entities
                    over internet using open protocol
                  • All the modules are open-source projects and can be easy re-used and adjusted
                    for your own project. App does not relay on third-party commercial services.
                    Even it falls under e-commerce field, which is currently almost closed, the app
                    is based on open solutions.

                  What are the use-cases?


                  something like this…

                  image
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                • Introducing Windows Terminal

                    We are beyond excited to announce Windows Terminal! Windows Terminal is a new, modern, fast, efficient, powerful, and productive terminal application for users of command-line tools and shells like Command Prompt, PowerShell, and WSL.



                    Windows Terminal will be delivered via the Microsoft Store in Windows 10 and will be updated regularly, ensuring you are always up to date and able to enjoy the newest features and latest improvements with minimum effort.


                    Read more →
                  • Docker container for HP servers management with ILO

                    • Tutorial
                    Origin in Russian

                    Well, you can wonder — why would I use docker container for such a purpose? What's the problem to enter web-interface of ILO and manage server as usual?

                    The same thought I had when I've got a few old servers that required a reprovision. The servers are located in different continent and the only interface I had it was just a web interface of ILO. And when I had to enter a few manual commands via Virtual Console I discovered that it's hardly possible.

                    For various sorts of Virtual Console of servers (both HP and Dells) usually Java web applets are used. But Firefox and Chrome don't support them anymore and the newest IcedTea doesn't work with those old system anyway. So I had a few options:
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                  • How Many Developers Need to Create Service Like Airbnb

                      Back in 2007, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia shared a room in San Francisco and were unable to pay rent on time. As a way out, they decided to turn their living space into a simple bed-and-breakfast hotel to get some money from travelers. If you love traveling i can advice you Travel news site. A year later, the venturers launched a website which evolved into the most famous peer-to-peer renting technology service called Airbnb.

                       Now, the company has 3,100 employees and generates insane revenues for its founders. The statistics say that Airbnb has 150 million registered users, 3 million hosts, and 4 million listed offers. The service covers 80,000 cities in 190 countries, and, interestingly, 50% of traffic comes from mobile applications.

                        These figures are so impressive that you may also want to create your own Airbnb clone and become successful. But slow down. This story is already written; do you really need to create a marketplace similar to Airbnb?
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                    • Automatically obtaining SSL certificates by Let's Encrypt using DNS-01 challenge and AWS

                      This post describes the steps needed for setting up automatic SSL certificates creation and renewal, using Let's Encrypt as the automated Certificate Authority, which provides a well-maintained API.
                      acme-dns-route53 is the tool to obtain SSL certificates from Let’s Encrypt using DNS-01 challenge with Route53 and Amazon Certificate Manager by AWS. acme-dns-route53 also has the built-in functionality for using this tool inside AWS Lambda, and this is what we are going to do.

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                    • Legacy Outage

                        Two days ago, May 5 of the year 2019 we saw a peculiar BGP outage, affecting autonomous systems in the customer cone of one very specific AS with the number 721.

                        Right at the beginning, we need to outline a couple of details for our readers:

                        1. All Autonomous System Numbers under 1000 are called “lower ASNs,” as they are the first autonomous systems on the Internet, registered by IANA in the early days (the late 80’s) of the global network. Today they mostly represent government departments and organizations, that were somehow involved in Internet research and creation in 70-90s.
                        2. Our readers should remember, that the Internet became public only after the United States’ Department of Defense, which funded the initial ARPANET, handed it over to the Defense Communication Agency and, later in 1981, connected it to the CSNET with the TCP (RFC675)/IP (RFC791) over X.25. A couple of years later, in 1986, NSF swapped the CSNET in favor of NSFNET, which grew so fast it made possible ARPANET decommission by 1990.
                        3. IANA was established in 1988, and supposedly at that time, existing ASNs were registered by the RIRs. It is no surprise that the organization that funded the initial research and creation of the ARPANET, further transferring it to another department because of its operational size and growth, only after diversifying it into 4 different networks (Wiki mentions MILNET, NIPRNET, SIPRNET and JWICS, above which the military-only NIPRNET did not have controlled security gateways to the public Internet).
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                      • TLS 1.3 enabled, and why you should do the same



                          As we wrote in the 2018-2019 Interconnected Networks Issues and Availability Report at the beginning of this year, TLS 1.3 arrival is inevitable. Some time ago we successfully deployed the 1.3 version of the Transport Layer Security protocol. After gathering and analyzing the data, we are now ready to highlight the most exciting parts of this transition.

                          As IETF TLS Working Group Chairs wrote in the article:
                          “In short, TLS 1.3 is poised to provide a foundation for a more secure and efficient Internet over the next 20 years and beyond.”

                          TLS 1.3 has arrived after 10 years of development. Qrator Labs, as well as the IT industry overall, watched the development process closely from the initial draft through each of the 28 versions while a balanced and manageable protocol was maturing that we are ready to support in 2019. The support is already evident among the market, and we want to keep pace in implementing this robust, proven security protocol.

                          Eric Rescorla, the lone author of TLS 1.3 and the Firefox CTO, told The Register that:
                          “It's a drop-in replacement for TLS 1.2, uses the same keys and certificates, and clients and servers can automatically negotiate TLS 1.3 when they both support it,” he said. “There's pretty good library support already, and Chrome and Firefox both have TLS 1.3 on by default.”
                          Read more →