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DNS Flag Day 2020: DNS servers must support both UDP and TCP queries

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An industry group of the world’s biggest DNS service providers has agreed on a plan to improve the state of the DNS ecosystem by forcing certain configuration changes upon the smaller server operators that are affecting the speed and performance of the entire internet.

According to this group, starting with February 1, 2020, DNS servers that can’t handle DNS queries over both UDP and TCP may be pushed out of the DNS ecosystem and stop working.

The idea is to get DNS server operators to update their server software and configurations and ensure their servers can handle DNS queries received as either UDP or TCP packets.

DNS Flag Day 2019 — first edition

This concerted industry push is part of a new event called DNS Flag Day, which had its first edition this year, on February 1, 2019.

During this first DNS Flag Day, participants pledged to roll out support for the Extensions to DNS (EDNS) protocol on their DNS servers and lock out any communications with servers that did not run DNS resolvers that were also EDNS compliant.

The event was deemed a success, according to the Internet Systems Consortium (ISC) and other DNS Flag Day 2019 participants, with several major service providers updating their infrastructure, resulting in more companies running DNS resolvers that were both faster and couldn’t be abused as part of DDoS attacks.

DNS Flag Day 2020

Now, the same industry group has met again and agreed on a new DNS Flag Day program for next year, and they’ve decided on pushing the entire ecosystem towards enabling support for DNS over TCP.

Today, as dictated by internet standards, all DNS servers support receiving and answering DNS queries via UDP, but not all support DNS queries via TCP.

A 2017 statistic showed that only 3% of all DNS queries were sent via TCP, and the rest being handled via the more insecure UDP protocol.

A big hurdle in adopting DNS over TCP is that not all DNS service providers support this feature, which leads to many software makers avoid using it by default, as this could break their applications.

“Analysis of 34 million domains out of 59 TLDs makes it evident that the requirement to use TCP leads to problems for approximately 7% of domains,” Qrator Labs, a provider of DDoS mitigation services, said in a blog post on Monday.

The common method of dealing with DNS service providers or domain registrars that don’t support DNS over TCP queries has been until now to implement workarounds that translate the same DNS over TCP query into the standard UDP.

Unfortunately, DNS provider who deploy these workarounds are slowdowns, and so are the users who are making these DNS over TCP queries.

The same ol’, same ol’ providers

Qrator Labs said that the vast majority of these problems with handling domain queries via TCP are localized to Chinese domain registrars, with 72% of the total 7% DNS over TCP breakage coming out of three Chinese companies only.

DNS over TCP problems

Image: Qrator Labs

Furthermore, most of these problems were also found on the networks of the same entities that had problems with EDNS-compatible resolvers during DNS Flag Day 2019, showing that most of the DNS ecosystem is being dragged down by the same group of companies that can’t be bothered to update or properly configure their servers.

“Flag Day organizers have reached a consensus that thousands of ISPs and DNS operators which make up the DNS community should no longer pay for workarounds to benefit a couple dozen companies that are not updating their servers,” Qrator Labs said.

The main plan is to stop deploying workarounds that rewrite DNS over TCP queries starting with February 1, 2020. DNS servers that will not update their configurations until then will most likely see DNS queries remain unanswered from upstream providers/servers.

More DNS Flag Days to come

With DNS Flag Day 2019 being a resounding success, this industry group now plans to hold a similar push every year and slowly force companies to move away from old software or bad configurations.

Members of the DNS Flag Day group include the ISC, Cloudflare, Facebook, Google, Cisco, Quad9, CZ.NIC, NLnet Labs, CleanBrowsing, and PowerDNS.

A video of the meeting where DNS Flag Day 2020 was decided is available here. More details and guidance on how operators can configure servers for DNS over TCP will be published on the DNS Flag Day website in the coming months.

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Can You Use An Xbox Controller On Nintendo Switch?

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It’s worth noting that some of the Xbox controller’s functions do not work on Switch, nor are many of the Switch’s unique features supported by the controller. Specifically, it lacks support for rumble, NFC, analog triggers, trigger vibration, the audio jack, IR input, and the LED doesn’t correlate to any Switch functions, including player indicators. You also can’t wake the Switch up from sleep using the controller.

You’ll also want to keep in mind that Xbox controllers swap the positions of several face buttons in relation to Switch controllers, so the labels won’t match up perfectly. For instance, the positioning of the “A” and “B” buttons on the Xbox controller correspond to “B” and “A” on the Switch controller, respectively. The same is true for the “X” and “Y” buttons. Otherwise, the Switch’s controller scheme perfectly matches the Xbox controller’s available buttons and triggers.

None of this is the fault of the 8Bitdo adapter. These limitations are simply the byproduct of marrying two devices that were not designed to work together. If that’s a dealbreaker, then your best bet is to buy an officially licensed Nintendo Switch controller. The best alternative for Xbox fans is Nintendo’s official Pro Controller.

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The Incredible Capabilities Of The US Air Force’s New Supersonic Training Jet

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According to the USAF, Boeing will produce over 350 Red Hawk aircraft as part of a contract worth more than $9.2 billion. There’s also speculation that the Red Hawk’s design could be easily modified to incorporate radar systems, electronic warfare equipment, or under-wing weapon stations, making it an attractive purchase for other U.S. military branches or even international allies.

The training jet features a glass touchscreen cockpit that provides a more modern flair — as well as a more practical piloting experience, one would hope — and tiered seating, so both the instructor and the trainee have sufficient ability to pilot the aircraft without visual obstructions.

Production models of the T-7A Red Hawk sport a red tail section, a reference to the red-painted tails of the aircraft flown during World War II by the 99th Fighter Squadron, better known as the “Tuskegee Airmen.” One of the planes they flew was the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, which influenced the design of the T-7A Red Hawk.

In the same tradition of equality that the Red Hawk’s name and design aspire to embody, the training jet is built to safely accommodate a wider variety of pilot body types and sizes than previous jets, allowing for a larger recruiting pool including more women than has historically been the case. Let’s hope similar updates make their way to the USAF’s other next-gen aircraft.

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How To Transfer Digital Games To A New Nintendo Switch

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Let’s say you’ve just gotten ahold of a brand-new Nintendo Switch console, but this isn’t your first. Maybe it’s an upgrade to the fancy OLED model, perhaps you’ve been sharing with family, and this one is just for you. Whatever the reason, if you already have or have had a Switch, and now you have a new one, you don’t have to start building up an entirely new games library (or even start your games over).

Thankfully there are ways to transfer your digital games from one Switch to another, along with your user accounts and saves. While the process is a bit different depending on whether you have access to that original Switch console, it’s still doable either way. Just know that it might take a little more effort without the console where all of your info was previously saved. And you’ll likely lose any game progress that wasn’t backed up using Cloud saves.

If you still have the original Switch console

Assuming you do have both the previous Switch and the new one you want to transfer everything over to, here’s what you do:

  1. From the original Switch, open System Settings (the icon looks like a gear) on the Home menu.
  2. Select Users, then select Transfer Your User Data.
  3. Select Next twice, and then choose Source Console to mark this Switch as the transferrer.
  4. Select Continue, then grab the new Switch console to which you want to move everything.
  5. From the new Switch, open System Settings and select Users, then Transfer Your User Data.
  6. Select Next, Next again, then choose Target Console to designate this Switch as the transferee.
  7. Select Sign-in, then sign into your Nintendo Account using either the associated email or sign-in ID.
  8. Select Sign-in, then Next, then go back to the original Switch.
  9. Wait for the systems to find each other, then select Transfer.
  10. Wait until the transfer is complete (this may take several minutes), then select End to finish.

If you no longer have the original Switch console

Things are a little more time-consuming without access to the original Switch console on which your account was created or primarily used. Also, note that any saved data that hasn’t been backed up via Cloud storage will not be able to carry over.

  1. First, ensure the original Switch console has been deactivated (via Nintendo), which can be done remotely through your Nintendo Account via the official website.
  2. Next, if you haven’t done it yet, link your Nintendo Account (via Nintendo) to the new Switch console.
  3. Log into the eShop on the Switch using your Nintendo Account, which will designate it as the primary console.
  4. You can download cloud backups of your game saves — if you have a Switch Online subscription and have been using the feature.
  5. You can also access your account’s download history through the eShop and begin installing any of the digital games you’ve previously purchased. This will, of course, take longer when dealing with more or larger games and will require an adequate amount of storage space.

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