8 of the Best Plugins for Securing Your WordPress Site

This article is part of a series created in partnership with SiteGround. Thank you for supporting the partners who make SitePoint possible.

How do you avoid getting hacked? Our last article detailed forty techniques for securing your WordPress site. This follow-up post is a quick reference of the best plugins that look after your security needs.

We’ve focused on highly-rated plugins that cover a range of security features, rather than one-trick-wonders. If your hosting provider doesn’t already have a comprehensive security solution, installing one of these would be a great first step in your security strategy.

Have we missed your favorite security plugin? Let us know in the comments.

1. WordFence

  • Cost: Free, Premium from $99/year
  • Active installs: 2+ million
  • Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (3,048 reviews)

Wordfence Security is 100% free and open source. We also offer a Premium API key that gives you Premium Support, Country Blocking, Scheduled Scans, Password Auditing, real-time updates to the Threat Defense Feed, two-factor authentication, and we even check if your website IP address is being used to Spamvertize.

WordFence includes these security features:

  • Firewall. WAF with automatically updated firewall rules that block common WordPress security threats.
  • Blocking features. Real-time blocking of known attackers and malicious networks and other security threats.
  • Login security. Two-factor authentication, enforced strong passwords, security to lock out brute force attacks.
  • Security scanning. Scans core files, themes and plugins for malware and backdoors, and checks for files that have been changed.
  • Monitoring. Monitors traffic in real time including bots and reverse DNS, monitors for DNS changes and disk space.

 

2. All In One WP Security & Firewall

  • Cost: Free
  • Active installs: 500,000+
  • Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (669 reviews)

A comprehensive, easy to use, stable and well supported security plugin… It reduces security risk by checking for vulnerabilities, and by implementing and enforcing the latest recommended WordPress security practices and techniques.

All In One WP Security & Firewall includes these security features:

  • User accounts security. Change the default admin username, check for user display names that are the same as usernames, password strength tool, stop user enumeration.
  • User login security. Login lockdown (brute force protection), log out inctive users, view failed login attempts, whitelist IP addresses, see who’s logged in, CAPTCHA.
  • User registration security. Enable manual approval, CAPTCHA, Honeypot.
  • Database security. Set the default WP prefix, schedule automatic backups.
  • File system security. Identify and fix insecure permissions, disable file editing from WP admin, monitor system logs.
  • htaccess and wp-config.php file backup and restore. Easily backup, restore and modify these important files.
  • Blacklist functionality. Ban users based on IP address or range, or by specifying user agents.
  • Firewall. Add firewall protection via htaccess, firewall rules that stop malicious scripts.
  • Brute force login and attack prevention. Cookie-based login prevention, CAPTCHA on login form, rename login form URL, Honeypot.
  • Whois lookup. Get full details of a suspicous host.
  • Security scanner. File change alerts, scan database tables for suspicious strings.
  • Comment spam security. Block IP addresses of spammers, add CAPTCHA to comment form.
  • Front-end text copy protection. Disables right click, text selection and the copy option.

 

3. iThemes Security

  • Cost: Free, Pro: 2 sites $80/year, 10 sites $100/year, unlimited sites $150/year, Gold $297 lifetime.
  • Previously called Better WP Security
  • Active installs: 800,000+
  • Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (3,812 reviews)

iThemes Security Pro takes the guesswork out of WordPress security. You shouldn’t have to be a security professional to use a security plugin, so iThemes Security Pro makes it easy to secure & protect your WordPress website.

The free version gives you some protection, but the Pro version includes these security features:

  • Two-Factor Authentication. “Use a mobile app such as Google Authenticator or Authy to generate a code or have a generated code emailed to you.”
  • WordPress Salts & Security Keys. “The iThemes Security plugin makes updating your WordPress keys and salts easy.”
  • Malware Scan Scheduling. “Have your site scanned for malware automatically each day. If an issue is found, an email is sent with the details.”
  • Password Security. “Generate strong passwords right from your profile screen.”
  • Password Expiration. “Set a maximum password age and force users to choose a new password. You can also force all users to choose a new password immediately (if needed).”
  • Google reCAPTCHA. “Protect your site against spammers.”
  • User Action Logging. “Track when users edit content, login or logout.”
  • Import/Export Settings. “Saves time setting up multiple WordPress sites.”
  • Dashboard Widget. “Manage important tasks such as user banning and system scans right from the WordPress dashboard.”
  • Online File Comparison. “When a file change is detected it will scan the origin of the files to determine if the change was malicious or not. Currently works only in WordPress core but plugins and themes are coming.”
  • Temporary Privilege Escalation. “Give a contractor or someone else temporary admin or editor access to your site that will automatically reset itself.”
  • wp-cli Integration. “Manage your site’s security from the command line.”

 

4. Sucuri Security

  • Cost: Free, Basic $199/year, Pro $299/year, Business $499/year
  • Active installs: 300,000+
  • Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (260 reviews)

We keep your website safe and hack-free! The Sucuri Platform is a suite of tools designed for complete website security. With no additional cost or hidden fees, the Sucuri Platform is affordable, easy to deploy, and supported by a team of professionals at your disposal.

Sucuri forms part of the security solution of many quality hosting providers, including SiteGround. It’s a valuable tool for SiteGround to protect its clients’ sites from malware, because it scans every link that is accessible from the website homepage on a daily basis. It includes these security features:

  • Clean and repair hacked websites. “Professional security incident response team available 24/7/365.”
  • Attack and hack prevention. “A cloud-based WAF/IPS solution designed to stop hacks and attacks.”
  • Continuous monitoring. “Continuous monitoring and alerting of any security-related issues.”

The free WordPress security plugin includes these features:

  • Security Activity Audit Logging
  • File Integrity Monitoring
  • Remote Malware Scanning
  • Blacklist Monitoring
  • Effective Security Hardening
  • Post-Hack Security Actions
  • Security Notifications

 

5. Jetpack, which now includes VaultPress

  • Cost: Free, Personal ($39/year), Premium ($99/year), Professional ($299/year)
  • Active installs: 3+ million
  • Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars (1,330 reviews)

Jetpack (by Automattic, who bring you WordPress) does more than just security. It basically brings the features of WordPress.com to the rest of us, which is appealing. For security and backup the paid plans includes VaultPress.

VaultPress is a real-time backup and security scanning service designed and built by Automattic, the same company that operates (and backs up!) millions of sites on WordPress.com.

VaultPress is now powered by Jetpack and effortlessly backs up every post, comment, media file, revision, and dashboard setting on your site to our servers. With VaultPress you’re protected against hackers, malware, accidental damage, and host outages.

VaultPress includes these security features:

  • Backups. “Comprehensive daily or real-time automated backups stored in our offsite digital vault, optimized for WordPress and better than your host.”
  • Restores. “Even during the most stressful moments we have your back. Restore your entire online presence quickly and easily without needing your host.”
  • File scanning. “Automatically detect and eliminate viruses, malware, and other exploitable security problems that may be hiding in your website.”
  • Automated file repair. “Fix detected viruses, malware, and other dangerous threats with a single click.”
  • Spam defense. “Protect your SEO, readers, and brand reputation by automatically blocking all spammers.”

 

6. BulletProof Security

  • Cost: Free, Pro $59.95 (one time purchase)
  • Active installs: 100,000+
  • Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (302 reviews)

BulletProof Security Pro has an amazing track record. BPS Pro has been publicly available for 5+ years and is installed on over 30,000 websites worldwide. Not a single one of those 30,000+ websites in 5+ years have been hacked.

100% hack free website guarantee. If your website is hacked after installing BPS Pro, we will clean up your hacked website for free. We can easily offer that awesome deal because your website will never be hacked if you have BPS Pro installed.

The free version includes these security features:

  • One-Click setup wizard
  • .htaccess website security protection (firewalls)
  • Hidden plugin folders / files cron (HPF)
  • Login security & monitoring
  • Idle session logout (ISL)
  • Auth cookie expiration (ACE)
  • DB backup: full/Partial, manual/scheduled, email/zip, cron delete old backups, logging
  • DB table prefix changer
  • Security logging
  • HTTP error logging

The Pro version adds these features:

  • AutoRestore Intrusion Detection & Prevention System (ARQ IDPS)
  • Quarantine Intrusion Detection & Prevention System (ARQ IDPS)
  • Real-time file monitor (IDPS)
  • DB Monitor Intrusion Detection System (IDS)
  • DB diff tool: data comparison tool
  • DB status & info
  • Plugin firewall (IP Firewall): automated whitelisting & IP address updating in real time
  • JTC anti-spam/anti-hacker
  • Uploads folder anti-exploit guard (UAEG)
  • Custom php.ini website security
  • F-Lock: read only file locking
  • Additional logging options
  • S-Monitor: monitoring & alerting core
  • Pro Tools: 16 mini-plugins

 

7. SecuPress

  • Cost: Free, 1 site $57.60/year, 3 sites $144/year, 10 sites $288/year, unlimited sites $479/year
  • Active installs: 5,000+
  • Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (19 reviews)

Protect your WordPress with malware scans, block bots & suspicious IPs. Get a complete WordPress security toolkit for free or as a pro plugin.

If you are proactive, our free WordPress security plugin is a great choice! No time to activate weekly scans? Then SecuPress pro is the way to go. Our plugin takes care of everything with automated tasks.

SecuPress includes these features:

  • Anti brute force login
  • Blocked IPs
  • Firewall
  • Security alerts
  • Malware scan (Pro)
  • Block country by geolocation
  • Protection of security keys
  • Block visits from bad bots
  • Vulnerable plugins & themes detection (Pro)
  • Security reports in PDF format (Pro)

 

8. Security Ninja

  • Cost: Single site $29 (1 year updates/support), multi site $79 (1 year updates/support), forever unlimited $199
  • Active installs: 6,000+
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (6 reviews)

Security Ninja helps thousands to stay safe and prevent downtime due to security issues. 50+ tests will provide a comprehensive overview of your site’s security.

The free version lets you achieve the following:

  • Perform 50+ security tests including brute-force attacks.
  • Check your site for security vulnerabilities and holes.
  • Take preventive measures against attacks.
  • Prevent 0-day exploit attacks.
  • Use included code snippets for quick fixes.
  • Brute-force attack on user accounts to test password strength.
  • Numerous installation parameters tests.
  • File permissions.
  • Version hiding.
  • 0-day exploits tests.
  • Debug and auto-update modes tests.
  • Database configuration tests.
  • Apache and PHP related tests
  • WP options tests.

You can even more protection using these Pro modules:

  • Core scanner. “Easily monitor the state of your WP core files. Have a clear view of files that are modified but shouldn’t be and restore them with a single click.”
  • Malware scanner. “Powerful heuristic malware scanning algorithm will check all your themes, plugins, uploaded files and options table for suspicious content.”
  • Auto fixer. “If you don’t like creating backups, editing files, messing with code and getting your hands dirty – Security Ninja PRO will do everything for you. Fix security issues with one click.”
  • Events logger. “Monitor, track and log more than 50 events on the site in great detail. From user actions, to post edits and widget changes – Events Logger sees everything.”
  • Scheduled scanner. “Have Security Ninja do automatic, periodic scans of your sites, including scans of core files. If there are any changes you’ll be notified via email.”

[“Source-ndtv”]

Create A Scrollable Widget Full Of App Icons Using ‘Foldery’

There are a ton of apps for Android that allow you to improve your productivity. As this is Android we’re talking about, you have far more freedom than you’d have on iOS, for example. There are apps that can boost your messaging experience, multitasking, and even change the look and feel of your entire home screen while adding some extra features into the mix. Well, we’re here to talk about an app called Foldery Multicon Folder Widget’ or ‘Foldery’ in short, which is basically a widget that will help you organize your home screen in a unique way, read on.

Many of you probably have quite a few icons on your home screen, and some of you are probably reluctant to use too many home screen pages. Well, with Foldery, you can create scrollable widgets and place app icons inside of them. You can essentially create a 1-by-1 widget on your home screen and place a number of icons inside of it. You can go through them by swiping either vertically or horizontally, that’s totally up to you. If your launcher allows you to, you can resize this widget and truly take control of what will it look like. The app also allows you to manipulate the size of the icons you include, you can make them huge, or simply use the standard size, it’s totally up to you. You can also increase the number of columns you’d like to use in a widget, change the background of the widget, and Foldery also supports icon packs, which means you can use whichever icon pack you want, as long as it is installed on your smartphone.Foldery worked great during our testing, and the app is very well designed, it’s not exactly in line with the latest Material Design guidelines, but it looks nice and it’s fairly easy to navigate. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you can create only 1 Foldery widget in the free version of this application, if you’d like to add more of them, you’ll need to make an in-app purchase. Interesting enough, you have 5 levels of contributions to choose from, ranging from ‘Patronage’ to ‘Coconut Cocktail’, which essentially means you can choose how much you’d like to pay for the app, though do keep in mind that you won’t be able to pay less than $1. All of these aforementioned options will give you access to ‘Foldery Premium’, and this is a one-time payment.

[Source:-AH]

 

10 things learnt from 10 years of blogging

10 things learnt from 10 years of blogging

Image via Shutterstock

For the past 10 years I have been writing a blog about Melbourne’s visual arts. My first blog post on Black Mark, Melbourne Art and Culture Critic was on February 16, 2008. It was ‘Faster Faster Pussycat’ about Phibs, Debs and other street artists painting a wall in Fitzroy. Now over a 1000 blog posts later this is what I have I learned about blogging.

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    1. It can motivate you The first thing I learned was that writing a blog was motivation to do more in life; I was already going to many art exhibitions but now there was more motivation to go to places, meet people and do other fun things. Soon I started to get invitations to do more things and meet more people. Blogging changed my life; although it wasn’t actually the writing, nor the taking endless photos, or the posting online that really made the change.
    2. You probably won’t make money Do not expect to make money from advertising on your blog but there are a variety of other ways that you can use a blog professionally from promotion to networking. My friend Professor Alison Young, who I met through blogging, uses her blog Images to Live By, to introduce herself. Middle-aged academics are not a typical part of the street art/graffiti scene but now Alison is ‘Banksy favourite criminologist’.
    3. You can make friends I have made many new friends through writing the blog, which has improved the quality of my life. One reason why I have made so many friends blogging is that I mostly write about what other people are doing.
    4. You learn how to manage enemies I have learned how to deal with hostile comments, trolls and other idiots. You can’t predict what will get people to write hostile comments – it could be pigeons in Coburg. I have never shied away from controversy, writing posts about the persecution of Bill Henson and Paul Yore. When I have hostile comments I always remember that the person writing them will forget about it after a day or two. If they don’t, that I can always block them from making comments, but I’ve only had to do this once in ten years. Comments are not indicative of anything; no comment does not mean a bad post. Out of 1,077 post I have only had 2,099 comments; half the comments are my own because I generally reply to all comments but I avoid feeding trolls.
    5. You need a focus My blog is focused on Melbourne’s visual arts but I do post about other things on it. Having a clear focus for a blog is important but it is a balance between a very narrow focus and ranging too far. With 13 categories on my blog I’m not sure that I’ve got it right but it is a lesson I’ve learned.
    6. You get to do a lot of people watching Vox pops can make a good local blog post. These don’t have to be direct quotes, but observations on how people are reacting. I like to watch how small children react at art exhibitions; are they engaged or bored? ‘Why does a tree need a sweater?’ is an example of how one observation of an angry man made a successful blog post about yarn bombing.Another local blogger and people-watcher is the writer Jane Routley, who writes about her day job in Station Stories, life as a Station Assistant.
    7. You might get a book published In 2015 my first book, Sculpture of Melbourne, was published by Melbourne Books. I started writing and researching the book on my blog and before I started my blog I couldn’t have imagined writing a history of Melbourne’s public sculpture. I am now working on my second book about true art crimes in Melbourne.
    8. You should follow your analytics I learnt from watching my stats the there was an interest in Melbourne’s public sculpture. What the public wants to read about art is different to what many arts writers want to write about. There are a lot of different kinds of feedback that you can get on blogs from comments to stats. Lots of stats, numbers of subscribers, views, repeat views. In ten years I’ve had approximately 537,000 views from 155 countries around the world (still no views from Greenland, Cuba, Iran, South Sudan and various central African countries). Stats can be addictive – you get the idea.
    9. Blogs can be works of art.My blog isn’t but the artist Peter Tyndall’s blog was exhibited at the NGV in 2013’s Melbourne Now exhibition and there are other less notable examples.
    10. It is hard work but satisfying

You are your own boss, your own editor and you make your own deadlines. Ignore the advice about blogging that you have to post regularly. Writing a blog may not be for everyone but it has worked for me and I will continue.

[Source:-Arts Hub]

Lott Entertainment Presents’ 2017 Spring Lineup Explores Themes of Race, Sexuality and a Journey through Music

Lott Entertainment Presents’ spring lineup will take fans on an epic journey through Cherokee country, into a world of whimsical sexual exploration-one that is taking Off Broadway by storm-and, finally, into a multi-genre glimpse into the lives of six different musicians, all portrayed by one man. All performances will take place at Lott Entertainment Presents’ new home in the Neuhaus Theatre at the Alley Theatre.

“Each show is sensational and vital in its own way,” artistic director Kathryn Lott says of the remaining shows. “The timeliness of all three of these works is truly extraordinary, and a testament to these artists and their work that we are bringing to Houston. I think our audiences are going to be on the edge of their seats for all of the performances.” “Every show is so different from the next,” adds executive director Allison Lott, “And yet each one presents a new, poignant message…sometimes that message is told in a lighthearted, hilarious tone and other times the message will pull at the heartstrings.”

Lott Entertainment Presents’ unique partnership with Joe’s Pub at the Public in New York has added to the buzz around the young performing arts organization on a national level, with their Joe’s Pub series being used as the model to expand into other markets. “Seattle has already taken up the torch and is in the midst of their first Joe’s Pub season,” says Kathryn Lott, who first presented the idea to Joe’s Pub. “And now this famed New York institution is in talks with other markets around the country to create a touring network for their artists.”

April 21 & 22, 2017 – Martha Redbone: Bone Hill – The Concert (Joe’s Pub Series)

Folk, funk, soul and blues artist Martha Redbone is one of the most vital voices in American Roots music and will perform her original work, Bone Hill – The Concert in Houston as part of the Joe’s Pub Series. Presented as a dramatic musical work with Redbone and her all-star band, Bone Hill – The Concert is a devised, interdisciplinary work inspired by her family lineage in the Appalachian Mountains. It’s an epic story of one woman’s return to her homeland on Black Mountain and the coalmines of Harlan County, KY where her family have dwelled for centuries.

Spanning the lives and stories of four generations of women in a Cherokee family, Redbone travels back in time to her own childhood and beyond into the memories and tales of her ancestors-both those who were born to the land and those who traveled the globe to end up on Black Mountain, whether by choice or by force. Audiences will join Redbone on her journey to the past to hear the tale of what it looks like to be an American in our country today. The music is radically wide-ranging, from traditional Cherokee chants and lullabies to bluegrass and blues, country, gospel, jazz, Rock & Roll, Rhythm n Blues and funk. Dark and violent at times, Bone Hill – The Concert is uncompromising in its desire to be honest about difficult subjects, especially race in America.

In addition to the two public performances at the Alley Theatre, Martha Redbone will participate in three residency activities including a workshop at Texas Southern University.

Bone Hill was written by Martha Redbone, Aaron Whitby and Roberta Uno, with original compositions by Redbone and Whitby, and was commissioned by the Joe’s Pub New York Voices initiative.

May 4-7, 2017: Sex Tips for a Straight Woman from a Gay Man

This Off Broadway smash hit romantic comedy takes the audience on a hilarious and wild ride where no topic is taboo and the insider ‘tips’ come straight from the source: a gay man. The play is set at a local university auditorium where the English department holds its monthly ‘Meet the Authors’ event. Robyn is the shy and studious moderator of the event, and this month’s featured author is Dan Anderson of Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man. With the help of a hunky staged assistant named Stefan, Dan aims to turn this event upside down with a highly theatrical, audience interactive sex tip seminar. Will Stefan’s muscles be used for more than moving heavy scenery? Will the power of Dan’s tips prove too titillating for even Robyn to resist? As with everything at this event…that is for Dan to know, and you to find out!

May 12-13, 2017: 6 Guitars

Award-winning writer/performer Chase Padgett will premiere his original work, 6 Guitars, for Houston audiences May 12-17, 2017. 6 Guitars is a pitch-perfect blend of music, comedy and characters. Chase Padgett delivers a virtuosic performance as he becomes six different guitar players-each with their own distinct voice, views and musical style (Blues, Jazz, Rock, Classical, Folk and Country). During this 85-minute show, each of the characters, ranging from a 19-year-old rock prodigy to an 87-year-old blues man, share their journey with music from discovery to mastery through songs and stories that leaves every audience laughing, crying and falling in love with music all over again. Co-written and directed by Jay Hopkins, 6 Guitars has won numerous Fringe Awards and has critics raving.

SPECIAL ENGAGEMENT JUST ADDED

June 7, 2017 at Jones Hall: Travis Wall’s Shaping Sound: After the Curtain

Through his Emmy Award winning work on “So You Think You Can Dance”, Travis Wall has established himself as one of America’s favorite choreographers. His artistic direction of SHAPING SOUND has already produced one spell-binding show in Dance Reimagined, which has captivated audiences all across North America. Now, Travis and SHAPING SOUND are back with their brand new show, After the Curtain. These visual musicians continue to dazzle audiences as they tell the story of a man fighting to find his creative voice after the death of his one true love. Heart-wrenching, breath-taking and ultimately uplifting, this is one dance show that audiences will remember forever.

About Lott Entertainment Presents

Entertainment Presents’ mission is to fill the void in the Houston performing arts scene by bringing shows from outside our city that push the boundaries of traditional theatre. With provocative, immersive and deliberately different works, we will provide Houstonians with a wide range of new experiences. Lott Entertainment Presents will bring shows from outside Houston that would not otherwise be seen in this city. Lott Entertainment Presents will utilize its traveling artists to enrich the lives of local artists by providing valuable educational programs such as audition workshops, singer/songwriter workshops and artist conversations. For more information, please visit http://www.lottentertainmentpresents.com.

About Joe’s Pub at the Public

Named for The Public Theater’s visionary founder Joe Papp, Joe’s Pub at The Public opened in 1998 and plays a vital role in The Public’s mission of supporting young artists while providing established artists with an intimate space to perform and develop new work. Joe’s Pub presents the best in live music and performance nightly, committed to diversity, production values, superior acoustics community and artistic freedom. The venue also offers unique opportunities like New York Voices, an artist commissioning program that has fostered new work by Ethan Lipton, Toshi Reagon, Bridget Everett, Allen Toussaint, Justin VivIan Bond & Kenny Mellman and more. Joe’s Pub presents talent from all over the world, hosting approximately 800 shows and serving over 100,000 audience members annually.

The Public Theater, which houses five theaters at its Astor Place home, in addition to Joe’s and Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater. For more than 60 years, The Public, under the leadership of Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham, has continued the work of Papp by acting as an advocate for the theater as an essential cultural force, leading the dialogue on some of the most important issues of our day. The Public’s programming includes free Shakespeare in the Park, the bedrock of the Company’s commitment to making theater accessible to all; Public Works, a national initiative that is designed to cultivate new models of engagement with artists, audiences and community; and Mobile Unit, which tours productions to underserved audiences. The Public has received 59 Tony Awards, 168 Obies, 53 Drama Desk Awards, 54 Lortel Awards, 32 OCC Awards, 13 NY Drama Critics Awards, and five Pulitzer Prizes, most recently for the musical Hamilton. For more information, please visit www.joespub.org.

[Source:-Broadway ]

Branstad speeches strike themes of togetherness

DES MOINES — The longest-serving governor in the nation’s history, Terry Branstad has 22 times delivered to Iowans an annual condition of the state address.

The speech is given each year in January during the first week of the legislative session. Delivered in the House chamber at the Iowa Capitol, lawmakers, state Supreme Court justices and other statewide elected officials attend, and it is broadcast live on public television.

Typically, it is the largest audience the governor attracts each year.

On Jan. 10, Branstad delivered what likely will be his final condition of the state address. The governor has been selected by President Donald Trump to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to China, and his confirmation is expected to come this spring.

To mark the occasion, a news researcher analyzed the texts of each of the six condition of the state addresses Branstad has made since returning to the governor’s office in 2011 — starting with his 2012 speech. Obviously, his messages vary, but the analysis shows some recurring topics and word choices. Here are the most common.

Chris Essig of The Gazette contributed to this report. The analysis was based on written speeches provided, and may vary slightly from the actual speech when delivered. If you are using our app, please click here to view the interactive.

[Source:-Gazette]

Oracle Warns Developers About The End Of Java Plugins, Urges To Look For Alternatives

Oracle Is Giving High School A Make OverOracle this week issued a dire warning to developers, who still expect browsers to run code developed for Java plugins, to find an alternative. The software company is urging developers to find replacement solutions if they still use Java applets because Firefox is going to stop supporting them.

Java Browser Plugin Will Be Deprecated Soon

In a recent Oracle blog post, the Redwood City-based company announced that starting with Mozilla Firefox 52, which is set for release next month, the 32-bit version of the browser will no longer provide the requisite APIs for standards-based plugin support.

The software company announced in a recently published Oracle whitepaper last year, that supporting Java plugins in web browsers is only possible for as long as the vendors are committed to supporting standards-based plugins. Unfortunately, things are getting hard now for the plugins.

According to The Register, the developers behind all major browsers have just decided that the NPAPI framework may now come to rest, that is because there are now better and alternative ways to do multimedia stuff inside a web browser.

Google Chrome ditched plugins in 2015, followed by Microsoft IE and then, the Opera and Apple Safari. This means only one thing: the clock is ticking now for the plugins and there’s no effective way to stop it.

Oracle Urges Developers To Look For Alternatives

In a recent Oracle blog post, the software company advises developers to quickly find a different solution if they are still using the aging Java applets. Mozilla Firefox 52 will be on ESR (Extended Support Release) and will include NPAPI plugin support on board and will get a new release every six weeks or so.

But once Firefox support has reached its expiration date, which will be on 2018, it will be the end of the world for the Java browser plugins.

[Source:-UH]

A Wish List of HoloLens Features That Could Change Everything

“Necessity, not novelty,” is a phrase I use often when it comes to HoloLens development. It would be fair to call it my mantra, or mission statement, as I prototype and explore software creation on this new frontier of mixed reality.

“What kind of experiences will keep people using these devices until the batteries run dry?” This is a question that drives me constantly. As a software developer, those discoveries are the heart of the journey. And if they are not the end goal for some, they are one of the major milestones on that path.As a developer that has bought in wholeheartedly to the Windows Holographic platform and the HoloLens, I spend about 14- 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, writing about, thinking about, or working with them on a constant stream of freelance and personal projects. Of course, I am constantly thinking about the user experience for my applications and how it works within the Windows Holographic environment.

As a result of my constant hunt for smart holographic solutions, I have had many ideas on how to improve the overall experience—some realistic, some not so realistic (yet)—and I’m not the only one. So I put my head together with many of our readers from around the world in the development community, and together we came up with a wish list on sorts of how Microsoft could help us help them expand this ecosystem and make it even more engaging.

  • 3D/live widgets: This one is a bit obvious since they were in the early HoloLens demos, but it’s definitely the most requested. I am sure system performance is one of the factors that drove Microsoft to pull that from the Windows Holographic system that we have at the moment. Which brings up the next point below.
A live widget as seen from Microsoft Build 2015.Image via Microsoft
  • 3D notifications: I believe this one falls under the 3D widgets category, but having an area in a spatial map for notifications would make it easier to build up usage habits for the HoloLens enthusiast, developer, or general user.
  • Better spatial mapping tools: This is another highly requested feature. Spatial mapping is amazing, and adds so much to experiences. That said, it is highly inaccurate. That level of inaccuracy will be fine for the real world, but for the areas that we use our devices regularly in, having sharp corners around walls would make the occlusion illusion more immersive. One potential solution would be the ability to take the spatial map into an external program, edit it so that it has sharp corners and the correct spaces, and then import it back as the data for the HoloLens spatial mapping.
  • The ability to set static versus dynamic areas: This is a continuation of the previous point. Being able to take the spatial map that is generated and determine which surfaces are walls and floors and what is a moveable object could make a real difference in experiences. Spatial understanding does a good job in helping find those things in a real time sense. But if this work was done in a static way, could the sensors not be used for other purposes?
  • Occlusion and proximity throttling: Obviously, if there are live widget-type experiences, they will take up CPU cycles. While these holograms do need to be updated, often their processes and updates could be turned down when the user is not close. Using a combination of occlusion and proximity (direct distance or a pathfinding system) seems an easy way to determine what programs get CPU priority. Well, easy in a relative sense.
  • External persistence for holograms inside unity applications: The blending of Unity applications with the Windows Holographic shell may be a pipe dream, but it is one that makes sense for developers. And maybe it falls on us to come up with some system to make that happen, but it would definitely require some cooperation with Microsoft’s HoloLens engineering team to come to fruition.
    • Multiple desktops: In a world that your entire home or office is now your desktop, the ability to switch modes seems like a very useful ability. As someone that works from home most of the time, and even more so the jack-of-all-trades type, I would definitely benefit from this idea. I use many different types of software depending on what my current project is, and I would love to change modes based on my needs without having to move all of my holograms around.
    • Better interoperability between XAML and Direct 3D: There are many use-cases that come to the mind, of members of the developer community, for taking existing 2D applications and making them work in 3D.
    • The locking of holograms to real world objects: Technically speaking, this one is above my head. I can see image recognition systems that exist that could do this while an object was in view. I imagine certain devices could have some sort of close-range tracking device. Regardless, it’s an interesting suggestion from one of the community developers that could apply to many imaginable use-cases.
    • Above all else, any kind of road map: We know Microsoft can’t spell everything out in the competitive market we are in. It is like handing your competitors your playbook and then wondering why you can’t score a goal. But there are thousands of us out here, wanting to know the hard work we are doing will come to something before long.

    Of course, we see the work going into the HoloToolkit and the HoloLens Companion Kit and know that Microsoft is actively doing much to help out the development community. Neeraj Wadhwa, Angela Hillier, and many others on the Microsoft team are constantly communicating and helping the developers simplify, find, and fix solutions.

  • [Source:-Next realty]

Nuclear blasts among themes of art exhibit at Sahara West Library

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The latest exhibit at The Studio, inside Sahara West Library, is titled “Transmutations: Robert Beckmann Paintings Under the Western Sky 1977-2017.”

Darren Johnson, Las Vegas Clark County Library District gallery services coordinator, said it was nice to secure a high-caliber artist.

“There were a few people I had in mind (for the space), and Beckmann was certainly near the top,” he said.

Johnson said he was particularly attracted to the Venitas series, depictions of Las Vegas’s skyline juxtaposed with depictions of ancient times in the foreground.

Beckmann prefers large-scale paintings. One of his notable series is titled “The Body of a House,” an eight-piece before-and-after depiction of nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site. That sequence has been shown in 20 museums around the U.S. as well as in St. Petersburg, Russia. It’s housed at the Nevada Museum of Art, but some of the paintings from that series are at The Studio for this exhibit.

Janie Sherwood was there to see the display. The Desert Pines teacher said Beckmann’s works take in “a large spectrum. I’m surprise at the different venues of art that he has. I had no idea.”

Beckmann, a native of Philadelphia, earned postgraduate degrees in art from the University of Iowa. That led to teaching at Northern Illinois University. After four years, he turned to painting full time.

“I’m a curious person,” he said. “I think. I feel. I’ve been around.”

Beckmann said he has no particular style — that he’d rather be in the culture and let his paintings comment on it.

“The patterns are an underlying reality, dealing with social issue,” he said.

One piece, on loan from the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas, is titled “Oak” and was inspired by the above-ground nuclear testing on the Marshall Islands. Done in 2010, the mixed media on canvas depicts the blast as an oak tree.

Starry Night, an acrylic on canvas dating to 2012, shows a nuclear blast creating a star shower effect with colors radiating off the atomic cloud.

Beckmann said he gets lost in his work.

“It’s never a matter of me expressing myself; it’s a matter of expanding myself,” he said. “It’s not a narcissistic activity, not putting something out there. It’s connecting with something, connecting with a process that allows me to do something original.”

Visit robertbeckmann.com.

On exhibit in an adjacent space are the works of Ken Kline, sign painter for the Las Vegas 51s minor-league baseball team. He works in trompe-l’œil, a technique that makes painted objects appear three-dimensional.

He drew his own appreciative crowd.

“Amazingly skilled as far as the detail work,” said Brian Sponnick, a Summerlin-area resident. “Very colorful.”

Cristina Sponnick, his wife, said it was so realistic, she could pick something off the painting.

“It’s nice to be away from social media and see this,” she said. “It’s inspiring.”

Kline is an alumnus of UNLV, where he was a fine-arts major.

“I’m an artist and I just like to paint,” he said. “When I have time, I do this, and when the season’s over, I can do it almost full time.”

[Source:-RJ]

Google Sends New Round of Outdated Plugin Warnings

Revolution Slider was the reason why hundreds of thousands of WordPress blogs were exploited by hackers back in 2014.  And one of the problems was that this plugin came as part of a WordPress theme bundle, and so they weren’t installed individually for site owners to update the plugins via the WordPress plugin dashboard.

Previously, Google has sent out update reminders to site owners using various plugins as well as outdated versions of WordPress and Joomla.  It isn’t known if this latest round is just for the Revolution Slider plugin but there are many plugins out there that are exploitable by hackers if they are not updated or removed.

It is also a reminder that site owners should always ensure their CMS as well as plugins are up-to-date.  There have been many issues of exploits with popular plugins including ones by Yoast, Shareaholic, WP Super Cache, and more.

This isn’t a manual action, however, if the site does get hacked, Google can flag the site in the search results as being hacked or unsafe, and can remove it until the problem is resolved.

Don’t forget that if you have been hacked with this plugin, simply updating the plugin will not remove the hacked content.  You will still need to remove the hacked content separately.

[Source:-The Sem Post]

Trump Signs Order Suspending Admission of Syrian Refugees

President Donald Trump on Friday signed an executive order temporarily halting a U.S. refugee program and indefinitely suspending admission of Syrian refugees, and issuing 90-day restrictions that could affect people from seven predominantly-Muslim nations.

The order suspends the admittance of Syrian refugees indefinitely until changes are made to U.S. policies. The move follows Trump’s campaign pledges to institute “extreme vetting.”

In signing the order, Trump vowed to “keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America.” Trump also signed a second order aimed at “rebuilding the U.S. Armed Forces.”

“We are not admitting into the country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas,” Trump said during the swearing in ceremony for Defense Secretary James Mattis at the Pentagon. “We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people.”

Islam is not mentioned in the order, but critics condemned it as a “Muslim ban” and at least one group promised a challenge on constitutional grounds.

The order specifically singles out the arrival of Syrian refugees as “detrimental to the interests of the United States” and suspends their entry to the country until Trump is satisfied with changes to refugee programs.

This is a complete reversal of a hotly debated policy set forth by the Obama administration that made it a goal last year of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees driven by the violence that occurred during their nation’s protracted civil war. America reached that goal in August.

While Syria is the only country singled out by name, the order suspends entry for 90 days from certain nations based on statute related to the Visa Waiver Program.

The most recent version of that visa waiver program put restrictions on those who had traveled to seven countries since March of 2011: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, or Yemen. Some visa exemptions are included in Trump’s order.

The order also leaves open the possibility of including other nations. The order suspends all refugee admissions for 120 days while the visa program is under review.

An exception is made for to allow officials to “prioritize refugee claims on the basis of religious-based persecution” for religious minorities in those country.

The order limits the total number of refugees to 50,000 in fiscal year 2017 and suspends waivers of in-person interviews for visas.

The State Department in a statement on Friday said it is working with the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services to put Trump’s executive order into effect.

And while no particular religion is mentioned, the order specifically identifies “those who would place violent ideologies over American law.”

“In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including ‘honor’ killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation,” the order says.

Extreme vetting is an idea that evolved from Trump’s controversial Muslim ban that he called for in December 2015. It was intended to address concerns from some over refugees entering the country from terror-stricken nations.

“We’ve taken in tens of thousands of people. We know nothing about them,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Thursday. “They can say they vet them. They didn’t vet them. They have no papers. How can you vet somebody when you don’t know anything about them and you have no papers?”

Though the United States government already utilizes a thorough nine-step vetting system for refugees, the president’s executive order is said to go further. It is still unclear what these steps would mean and if it would target any particular religious group as the president stated on the campaign trail.

According to the Pew Research Center, the United States welcomed almost 85,000 refugees in 2016. Forty-six percent of them were Muslim.

The president sets the number of refugees accepted annually into the U.S. and, from that authority, can suspend the program at any time. President George W. Bush took similar actions following the 9/11 attacks when the program was suspended for several months.

Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the Homeland Security committee, said on Friday that he applauds the president’s move.

“We are a compassionate nation and a country of immigrants. But as we know, terrorists are dead set on using our immigration and refugee programs as a Trojan Horse to attack us,” McCaul said in a statement. “Today, President Trump signed an order to help prevent jihadists from infiltrating the United States.”

The response from advocates for refugee rights was swift.

“I am heartbroken that today President Trump is closing the door on children, mothers and fathers fleeing violence and war,” Malala Yousafzai, a student activist and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate said in a statement through a press office. “I am heartbroken that America is turning its back on a proud history of welcoming refugees and immigrants — the people who helped build your country, ready to work hard in exchange for a fair chance at a new life.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to the social media platform to express his concern about the executive order’ impact on those fleeing violence and oppression in their homelands. His great-grandparents came from Germany, Austria and Poland. The parents of his wife, Priscilla, were refugees from China and Vietnam.

“We need to keep this country safe, but we should do that by focusing on people who actually pose a threat. Expanding the focus of law enforcement beyond people who are real threats would make all Americans less safe by diverting resources, while millions of undocumented folks who don’t pose a threat will live in fear of deportation,” he wrote. “We should also keep our doors open to refugees and those who need help. That’s who we are. Had we turned away refugees a few decades ago, Priscilla’s family wouldn’t be here today.”

Trump also called for a “great rebuilding” of the nation’s military. “New planes, new ships, new resources, new tools for our men and women in uniform,” the president said.

The military executive order instructs the Defense secretary to conduct a 30-day “readiness review” and along with the Office of Management and Budget develop a budget amendment.

The order also instructs Mattis to conduct “a new nuclear posture review” and “a new ballistic missile defense review.”

The nuclear posture review is aimed to “ensure the United States nuclear deterrent is modern, robust, flexible, resilient, ready, and appropriately tailored to deter 21st-century threats and reassure our allies,” according to the order.

[Source:-NBC]