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- Red Hat: 2017:0838-01: openjpeg: Moderate Advisory
LinuxSecurity.com: An update for openjpeg is now available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. Red Hat Product Security has rated this update as having a security impact of Moderate. A Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) base score, which [More...]
- Red Hat: 2017:0837-01: icoutils: Important Advisory
LinuxSecurity.com: An update for icoutils is now available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. Red Hat Product Security has rated this update as having a security impact of Important. A Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) base score, [More...]
- Red Hat: 2017:0817-01: kernel: Moderate Advisory
LinuxSecurity.com: An update for kernel is now available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. Red Hat Product Security has rated this update as having a security impact of Moderate. A Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) base score, which [More...]
- Red Hat: 2017:0794-01: quagga: Moderate Advisory
LinuxSecurity.com: An update for quagga is now available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. Red Hat Product Security has rated this update as having a security impact of Moderate. A Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) base score, which [More...]
- Red Hat: 2017:0744-01: samba4: Moderate Advisory
LinuxSecurity.com: An update for samba4 is now available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. Red Hat Product Security has rated this update as having a security impact of Moderate. A Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) base score, which [More...]
- Red Hat: 2017:0725-01: bash: Moderate Advisory
LinuxSecurity.com: An update for bash is now available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. Red Hat Product Security has rated this update as having a security impact of Moderate. A Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) base score, which [More...]
- Red Hat: 2017:0680-01: glibc: Moderate Advisory
LinuxSecurity.com: An update for glibc is now available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. Red Hat Product Security has rated this update as having a security impact of Moderate. A Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) base score, which [More...]
- Red Hat: 2017:0662-01: samba: Moderate Advisory
LinuxSecurity.com: An update for samba is now available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. Red Hat Product Security has rated this update as having a security impact of Moderate. A Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) base score, which [More...]
- Agocs: Boosting performance with shader binary caching in Qt 5.9
Laszlo Agocs takesa look at improvements to the basic OpenGL enablers that form thefoundation of Qt Quick and the optional OpenGL-based rendering path ofQPainter in Qt 5.9. "Asexplained here, such shader programs will attempt to cache the programbinaries on disk using GL_ARB_get_program_binaryor the standard equivalents in OpenGL ES 3.0. When no support is providedby the driver, the behavior is equivalent to the non-cached case. The filesare stored in the global or per-process cache location, whichever is writable. The result is a nice boost in performance when a program is created with the same shader sources next time."
- Security updates for Thursday
Security updates have been issued by Debian (audiofile, jhead, libxslt, samba, suricata, and wordpress), Fedora (openslp), Mageia (icoutils, kdelibs4, and virtualbox), Oracle (icoutils and openjpeg), Red Hat (icoutils and openjpeg), and Ubuntu (audiofile, git, and samba).
- GitLab 9.0 Released with Subgroups and Deploy Boards
GitLab 9.0 has been releasedwith many new features and improvements. "In the last several releases, GitLab has transformed how development teams get from idea to production. In just a few minutes, you can deploy GitLab to a container scheduler, add CI/CD with auto deployed review apps, utilize ChatOps, and analyze your cycle time. With 9.0 you can now watch your deploys with deploy boards and monitor application performance with Prometheus."
- NTPsec Project announces 0.9.7
The NTPsec Project has announced the 0.9.7 release of NTPsec, withassistance from the Mozilla Foundation's "Secure Open Source" initiative.NTPsec is an implementation of the Network Time Protocol (NTP)."NTPsec 0.9.7 incorporates significant improvements in security, accuracy,precision, visualization, and usability, with assistance, contributions,and audits provided by infosec researchers and other technical contributors.For this release, the NTPsec Project worked particularly closely with theMozilla Foundation's "Secure Open Source" initiative, who funded an infosecaudit, and with Cure53.de, who provided the audit."
- GNOME 3.24 released
The GNOME Project has announced the release of GNOME 3.24, "Portland"."This release is the result of 6 months’ hard work by the GNOME community.It contains major new features such as night light, as well as many smallerimprovements and bug fixes. GNOME's existing applications have beenimproved and there is also a new Recipes app. Improvements to our platforminclude refined notifications and several revamped settings panels."
- Stable kernel updates
Greg Kroah-Hartman has released stable kernels 4.10.5, 4.9.17, and 4.4.56. All of them contain important fixesand users should upgrade.
- [$] Unaddressable device memory
In a morning plenary session on the first day of the 2017 Linux Storage,Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit, Jérôme Glisse led a discussion onmemory that cannot be addressed by the CPU because it lives in devices likeGPUs or FPGAs. There is often a substantial pile of memory on thesedevices and it can be accessed much more quickly by the devices than thesystem RAM can be. Making it easier for user-space programmers to use thatmemory transparently is the goal of the heterogeneous memory management (HMM) patchesthat Glisse has been working on.
- Garrett: A new Shim review process
Matthew Garrett announces a new,hopefully more efficient process for reviewing bootloaders to be used withShim in UEFI secure bootsystems. "To that end, we're adopting a new model. A mailing listhas been created at email@example.com, and members of thislist will review submissions and provide a recommendation to Microsoft onwhether these should be signed or not."
- O-MG, the Developer Preview of Android O is here! (Android Developers Blog)
The Android Developers Blog introducesthe first developer preview of Android O. This version includesbackground limits, notification channels, autofill APIs, PIP for handsets,font resources in XML, adaptive icons, and much more. "Building on the work we began in Nougat, Android O puts a big priority on improving a user's battery life and the device's interactive performance. To make this possible, we've put additional automatic limits on what apps can do in the background, in three main areas: implicit broadcasts, background services, and location updates. These changes will make it easier to create apps that have minimal impact on a user's device and battery. Background limits represent a significant change in Android, so we want every developer to get familiar with them."
- KDevelop 5.1.0 released
KDevelop is KDE's Integrated Development Environment (IDE). Version 5.1has been releasedwith LLDB support, Analyzer run mode, initial OpenCL language support,improved Python language support, and more.
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.9 released
Red Hat has announcedthe release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.9. "Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.9 delivers new hardware support developed in collaboration with Red Hat partners which helps to provide a smooth transition of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 production deployments to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 environments. Additionally, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.9 adds updates to TLS 1.2 to further enhance secure communications and provide broader support for the latest PCI-DSS standards, better equipping enterprises to offer more secure online transactions."
- Security updates for Tuesday
Security updates have been issued by Debian (sitesummary), Fedora (jasper, knot-resolver, R, rkward, rpm-ostree, rpy, w3m, and xen), openSUSE (firefox), Red Hat (bash, coreutils, glibc, gnutls, kernel, libguestfs, ocaml, openssh, qemu-kvm, quagga, samba, samba4, subscription-manager, tigervnc, and wireshark), and Ubuntu (eglibc, glibc, firefox, freetype, gnutls26, NVIDIA graphics, and nvidia-graphics-drivers-375).
- [$] ZONE_DEVICE and the future of struct page
The opening session of the 2017 Linux Storage, Filesystem, andMemory-Management Summit covered a familiartopic: how to represent (possibly massive) persistent-memory arraysto various subsystems in the kernel. This session, led by Dan Williams,focused in particular on the ZONE_DEVICE abstraction and whetherthe kernel should use page structures to represent persistent memory ornot.
- How to Manage Processes in Linux
A process is the abstraction used by the Linux operating system to represent a running program. Each process in Linux consists of an address space and a set of data structures within the server kernel. The address space contains the code and libraries that the process is executing, the process’s variables, its stacks, and different additional information needed by the kernel while the process is running.
- Modular, open source robotics kit lets you build your own 3D printer
Plugg.ee Labs’s Cortex-M3 based “JuicyBoard” robotics kit is designed for building stepper motor controlled devices like 3D printers or CNC routers. The JuicyBoard has surpassed its modest funding goals on Crowd Supply, providing a modular, open source development kit for stepper motor oriented devices such as 3D printers and CNC routers. Built around an NXP […]
- 3 open source link shorteners
Nobody likes an impossibly long URL.They're hard to decipher. But sometimes, between a deep directory structure on a site, plus a large number of parameters tacked on to the end, URLs just begin to get unwieldy. And back in the days before Twitter added their own link shortener to their service, a long URL meant taking precious characters away from your tweets.read more
- How to write a web service using Python Flask
Many of our customers are building useful services using our webhook feature—but unfortunately, others are not. Often we hear that no one on their team is proficient enough to write a service that can ingest a webhook payload and do something with the data. That leaves them either hoping to get cycles from their development team (unlikely) or continuing to do without.read more
- 5 simple steps to change the Linux Splash screen.
Splash screen is nothing but the picture that’s gets displayed in the background while booting the Linux operating system.Splash screen definitions are defined in the grub.conf file and this splash screen image file resides inside the /boot partition. This tutorial will Teach how to change splash screen.
- Unbuntu splats TITSUP bug spread in update
Fat-thumbed DNS patch unpatched, time to re-patchA simple library update turned into a white-knuckle ride for Ubuntu sysadmins, who have lit up Reddit and StackOverflow to complain that their 'net connections went TITSUP (Total Inability To Support Usual Performance).…
- Easier Persistent Memory Programming with Extensions to libstdc++ and libc++
Persistent memory, unlike volatile memory, retains its contents even if the server has a power failure. However, as Tomasz Kapela, Software Engineer at Intel, points out during his LinuxCon Europe 2016 talk, persistent memory is hard to achieve. Since persistent memory programming is non-trivial, they have been focused on making it easier for the end user and for applications to use persistent memory correctly.
- Hello Debugger!
Sometimes, we get ideas we wish we’d thought of sooner. A couple months ago, I got this one: break to the debugger from the source code. (Not specifically Linux, just a cool idea I had.)
- Rugged, expandable 3.5-inch Skylake SBC supports Linux
Diamond’s 3.5-inch “Venus” SBC offers an Intel 6th Gen CPU, -40 to 85°C support, up to 20GB of ruggedized RAM, and mini-PCIe and PCIe/104 OneBank. The Venus is “believed to be the very first rugged small form factor single-board-computer” based on Intel’s 6th Generation “Skylake” Core processors, says Diamond Systems. This may well be true, depending on how you define “rugged” and “SBC.”
- Toughened up PC/104 SBC runs Linux
WinSystems unveiled a rugged “PCM-C418” SBC with a dual-core, Vortex86DX3SoC, Fast and Gigabit Ethernet ports, SATA and CF storage, and PC/104 expansion. The WinSystems PCM-C418 SBC offers a combination of PC/104 expansion, GbE and Fast Ethernet ports, shock and vibration resistance, and a Linux-friendly, x86-based Vortex86DX3 SoC — attributes shared by the Diamond Systems Helix […]
- Blender - Your FOSS 3D Software
If you are into game development, video editing, or 3D modeling as a professional or a hobby, then Blender is a tool you should definitely look at. Blender is a FOSS solution/alternate to many commercial tools that are available and it is able to strongly match most of these commercial tools. Blender is a cross-platform application which means you can not only run it on Linux but also on Windows and MacOS. Blender is well suited to individuals and small studios who benefit from its unified pipeline and responsive development process. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline, anything from modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, video editing and game creation.
- OpenSuse Leap Reinforces Linux Faith
OpenSuse Leap 42.2 goes a long way toward maintaining Suse's reputation for reliability and stability. That said, new users might need a push to take the leap from their familiar distros to this latest OpenSuse release. Business users can remain confident that upgrading to the latest edition, released last fall, won't put them too close to the bleeding edge of innovation.
- Google Gives Devs First Look at Android O
Google on Tuesday unveiled a developer preview of the latest version of its mobile operating system, code named "Android O." The new OS is designed to improve on battery life and interactive performance of devices, according to Dave Burke, vice president of engineering, Android, at Google. The new release puts automatic limits on what applications do in the background in three areas.
- Cracking the Shell
If you've begun to tinker with your desktop Linux terminal, you may be ready to take a deeper dive. You're no longer put off by references to "terminal," "command line" or "shell," and you have a grasp of how files are organized. You can distinguish between a command, an option and an argument. You've begun navigating your system. Now what? File manipulation lies at the heart of Linux.
- IBM Launches Enterprise-Strength Blockchain as a Service
IBM has unveiled the first enterprise-ready Blockchain as a Service offering based on The Linux Foundation's open source Hyperledger Fabric. IBM Blockchain, which lets developers quickly establish highly secure blockchain networks on the IBM cloud, is a transformative step in being able to deploy high-speed, secure business transactions through the network on a large scale, the company said.
- Google Unveils Guetzli, Open Source JPEG Encoder, to Speed Browsing
Google on Thursday announced Guetzli, a new contribution to its evolving set of tools for the open source community. Guetzli is an encoder that allows JPEG files to be compressed as much as 35 percent, resulting in much faster Web page loading. "Guetzli," which means "cookie" in Swiss German, allows users to create smaller JPEG images.
- Slackel Openbox Plays Hard to Get
Slackel's Openbox edition is a lightweight operating system that offers reliable performance once you get the box open. It is not an ideal OS for every user, though. Slackel 6.0.8 Openbox was released by developer Dimitris Tzemos last fall. Slackel is a Linux distro that offers several benefits for users who step away from the typical mainstream Debian-based Linux distros.
- Accenture and Docker Team on Container Services
Accenture and Docker on Wednesday announced an expanded global alliance and the availability of container services within the Accenture Cloud Factory. The new services provide a faster industrialized on-ramp solution for enterprises moving to the cloud. They focus on container enablement of applications and feature use of Docker Datacenter Enterprise Edition - Standard.
- Linux Academy Rolls Out New Cloud-Based Training Platform
Linux Academy, an online training platform for the Linux OS and cloud computing, has announced a public beta rollout of its Cloud Assessments platform, designed to let large enterprise firms train and assess their IT workers and prospective job candidates. The academy offers training on a variety of cloud-based platforms, including Amazon Web Services, Open Stack, DevOps, Azure and others.
- Malware Found Preinstalled on Dozens of Android Phones
Malware has been discovered preinstalled on 36 Android phones belonging to two companies, security software maker Check Point reported. "In all instances, the malware was not downloaded to the device as a result of the users' use -- it arrived with it," noted Oren Koriat, a member of Check Point's Mobile Research Team. The malicious apps were added somewhere along the supply chain.
- Black Lab Linux 8.0 Is a Rare Treat
Black Lab Linux 8.0, based on Ubuntu 16.04, adds a Unity desktop option. You won't find Unity offered by any other major -- or nearly any minor -- Linux distributor outside of Ubuntu. It also updates several other prominent desktop options. Black Lab Linux is a general purpose community distribution for home users and SMBs. Black Lab Enterprise Linux targets businesses that want support services.
- The Terminal Is Where Linux Begins - and Where You Should, Too
Once you have a sense of the vast potential of Linux, you may be eager to experience it for yourself. Given the complexity of modern operating systems, it can be hard to know where to start. As with many things, computers can be better understood through a breakdown of their evolution and operation. The terminal is not only where computers began, but also where their real power still resides.
- Google Invites Open Source Devs to Give E2EMail Encryption a Go
Google has released its E2EMail encryption code to open source as a way of pushing development of the technology. "Google has been criticized over the amount of time and seeming lack of progress it has made in E2EMail encryption, so open sourcing the code could help the project proceed more quickly," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. That will not stop critics, though, he added.
- Zorin Desktop Is a Crowd Pleaser
Zorin OS developers on Tuesday released Version 12.1, offering Linux users a patchwork of software and hardware updates with some performance enhancements and bug fixes. Zorin 12.1 follows the introduction three months ago of the project's 12 series. It is a minor update, but the amount of tweaking applied makes it worth upgrading to the .1 release. For instance, it has an updated hardware stack.
- Zero W Joins Raspberry Pi Family on 5th Birthday
Raspberry Pi turned 5 years old on Tuesday, and to mark the occasion, the foundation announced a new member of the family, the Raspberry Pi Zero W, and a case to go with it. Raspberry Pi Zero W adds wireless LAN and Bluetooth capabilities to tiny computer's growing list of capabilities. Priced at just $10, the device is affordable for anyone who wants to take the Pi for a test drive.
- DebianDog Is a Useful Pocket Pup
DebianDog offers a lot of functionality and customization that frees users from many of the restrictions of a Linux community tied up in developmental red tape. DebianDog is fast and focused on getting work done without a lot of distractions. However, it also is a disorganized desktop environment that can leave new users floundering. Its look and feel is eclectic, and documentation is sparse.
- What a Linux Desktop Does Better
After I resolved to adopt Linux, my confidence grew slowly but surely. Security-oriented considerations were compelling enough to convince me to switch, but I soon discovered many more advantages to the Linux desktop. For those still unsure about making the transition, or those who have done so but may not know everything their system can do, I'll showcase here some of the Linux desktop's advantages.
- Open Source IoT on Steady Enterprise March
Enterprise IT decision makers have been exploring the potential of Internet of Things technologies, but they are not rushing IoT projects into development and are showing caution in their adoption commitments, according to survey results Red Hat released Wednesday. Of the 215 participants in the company's survey, "Enterprise IoT in 2017: Steady as she goes," 55 percent indicated that IoT was important to their organization.
- Microsoft Makes VR Drone Fight Simulator Available on GitHub
Microsoft has introduced an open source virtual reality toolkit for the training of autonomous drones. The beta software became available on GitHub last week. The toolkit is designed to allow developers to "teach" drones how to navigate the real world by recreating conditions such as shadows, reflections and even objects that might confuse a device's on-board sensors.
- Munich City Government to Dump Linux Desktop
Munich city officials turned lots of heads 10 years ago, when they voted to swap out Microsoft Windows with LiMux -- a custom desktop version of the Linux operating system, based on Ubuntu Linux. The current municipal government wants to dump LiMux and replace its 15,000 computers with Windows 10. The city's general council this week voted to investigate the costs of building a Windows 10 client.
- Lumina Adds Luster to Linux Desktop
The Lumina Desktop Environment desktop is a standout in the crowded field of Linux GUIs. Lumina is a compact, lightweight, XDG-compliant graphical desktop environment developed from scratch. Its focus is on giving users a streamlined, efficient work environment with minimal system overhead. Lumina was first developed for the BSD family of operating systems, such as FreeBSD and TrueOS.
- Capsule8 Launches Linux-Based Container Security Platform
Cybersecurity startup Capsule8 this week announced that it has raised $2.5 million to launch the industry's first container-aware, real-time threat protection platform designed to protect legacy and next-generation Linux infrastructures from existing and potential attacks. CEO John Viega, CTO Dino Dai Zovi and Chief Scientist Brandon Edwards, all veteran hackers, cofounded the firm.
- US Ordered 'Mandatory Social Media Check' For Visa Applicants Who Visited ISIS Territory
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has ordered a "mandatory social media check" on all visa applicants who have ever visited ISIS-controlled territory, according to diplomatic cables obtained by Reuters. The four memos were sent to American diplomatic missions over the past two weeks, with the most recent issued on March 17th. According to Reuters, they provide details into a revised screening process that President Donald Trump has described as "extreme vetting." A memo sent on March 16th rescinds some of the instructions that Tillerson outlined in the previous cables, including an order that would have required visa applicants to hand over all phone numbers, email addresses, and social media accounts that they have used in the past. The secretary of state issued the memo after a Hawaii judge blocked the Trump administration's revised travel ban on citizens from six predominantly Muslim countries. In addition to the social media check, the most recent memo calls for consular officials to identify "populations warranting increased scrutiny." Two former government officials tell Reuters that the social media order could lead to delays in processing visa applications, with one saying that such checks were previously carried out on rare occasions.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Google Reducing Trust In Symantec Certificates Following Numerous Slip-Ups
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes from a report via BleepingComputer: Google Chrome engineers announced plans to gradually remove trust in old Symantec SSL certificates and intent to reduce the accepted validity period of newly issued Symantec certificates, following repeated slip-ups on the part of Symantec. Google's decision comes after the conclusion of an investigation that started on January 19, which unearthed several problems with Symantec's certificate issuance process, such as 30,000 misused certificates. In September 2015, Google also discovered that Symantec issued SSL certificates for Google.com without authorization. Symantec blamed the incident on three rogue employees, whom it later fired. This move from Google will force all owners of older Symantec certificates to request a new one. Google hopes that by that point, Symantec would have revamped its infrastructure and will be following the rules agreed upon by all the other CAs and browser makers.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Twitter Considers Premium Version After 11 Years As a Free Service
Twitter is considering whether or not to build a premium version of its site for select users. It's unclear what the cost would be at this time, but it's very possible it could be in the form of a subscription. Reuters reports: Like most other social media companies, Twitter since its founding 11 years ago has focused on building a huge user base for a free service supported by advertising. Last month it reported it had 319 million users worldwide. Twitter is conducting a survey "to assess the interest in a new, more enhanced version of Tweetdeck," which is an existing tool that helps users navigate the network, spokeswoman Brielle Villablanca said in a statement on Thursday. She went on: "We regularly conduct user research to gather feedback about people's Twitter experience and to better inform our product investment decisions, and we're exploring several ways to make Tweetdeck even more valuable for professionals." There was no indication that Twitter was considering charging fees from all its users. Word of the survey had earlier leaked on Twitter, where a journalist affiliated with the New York Times posted screenshots of what a premium version of Tweetdeck could look like. That version could include "more powerful tools to help marketers, journalists, professionals, and others in our community find out what is happening in the world quicker," according to one of the screenshots posted on the account @andrewtavani.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Apple Explores Using An iPhone, iPad To Power a Laptop
According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple has filed a patent for an "Electronic accessory device." It describes a "thin" accessory that contains traditional laptop hardware like a large display, physical keyboard, GPU, ports and more -- all of which is powered by an iPhone or iPad. The device powering the hardware would fit into a slot built into the accessory. AppleInsider reports: While the accessory can take many forms, the document for the most part remains limited in scope to housings that mimic laptop form factors. In some embodiments, for example, the accessory includes a port shaped to accommodate a host iPhone or iPad. Located in the base portion, this slot might also incorporate a communications interface and a means of power transfer, perhaps Lightning or a Smart Connector. Alternatively, a host device might transfer data and commands to the accessory via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or other wireless protocol. Onboard memory modules would further extend an iOS device's capabilities. Though the document fails to delve into details, accessory memory would presumably allow an iPhone or iPad to write and read app data. In other cases, a secondary operating system or firmware might be installed to imitate a laptop environment or store laptop-ready versions of iOS apps. In addition to crunching numbers, a host device might also double as a touch input. For example, an iPhone positioned below the accessory's keyboard can serve as the unit's multitouch touchpad, complete with Force Touch input and haptic feedback. Coincidentally, the surface area of a 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus is very similar to that of the enlarged trackpad on Apple's new MacBook Pro models. Some embodiments also allow for the accessory to carry an internal GPU, helping a host device power the larger display or facilitate graphics rendering not possible on iPhone or iPad alone. Since the accessory is technically powered by iOS, its built-in display is touch-capable, an oft-requested feature for Mac. Alternatively, certain embodiments have an iPad serving as the accessory's screen, with keyboard, memory, GPU and other operating guts located in the attached base portion. This latter design resembles a beefed up version of Apple's Smart Case for iPad.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- YouTube Loses Major Advertisers Over Offensive Videos
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Rolling Stone: Verizon, AT&T, Johnson & Johnson and other major companies have pulled advertisements from YouTube after learning they were paired with videos promoting extremism, terrorism and other offensive topics, The New York Times reports. Among the other companies involved are pharmaceutical giant GSK, HSBC, the Royal Bank of Scotland and L'Oreal, amounting to a potential loss of hundreds of millions of dollars to the Google-owned company. The boycott began last week after a Times of London investigation spurred many major European companies to pull their ads from YouTube. American companies swiftly followed, even after Google promised Tuesday to work harder to block ads on "hateful, offensive and derogatory" videos. Like AT&T, most companies are only pulling their ads from YouTube and will continue to place ads on Google's search platforms, which remain the biggest source of revenue for Google's parent company, Alphabet. Still, the tech giant offered up a slew of promises to assuage marketers and ensure them that they were fixing the problems on YouTube. Due to the massive number of videos on YouTube -- about 400 hours of video is posted each minute -- the site primarily uses an automated system to place ads. While there are some failsafes in place to keep advertisements from appearing alongside offensive content, Google's Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler wrote in a blog post that the company would hire "significant numbers" of employees to review YouTube videos and mark them as inappropriate for ads. He also said Google's latest advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning will help the company review and flag large swaths of videos.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Canada To Tax Ride-Sharing Providers Like Uber
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government announced plans to tax ride-sharing providers like Uber for the first time. According to CBC, the latest consumer tax changes included in Wednesday's federal budget "will add to the cost of Uber rides while ending a public-transit credit." The idea behind the decision is to "help level the playing field and create tax fairness." From the report: The proposed levy on Uber and other ride-hailing services would for the first time impose GST/HST on fares, in the same way they are charged on traditional taxi services. The change will broaden the definition of a taxi business to ensure Uber and other web-based ride-hailing services are required to charge and remit GST/HST, adding to the cost of each trip. The effect on federal revenues will be modest, just $3 million in additional revenue in 2017-18, but the budget suggests the measure is to help level the playing field and create tax fairness. The non-refundable public transit tax credit -- a so-called boutique tax credit introduced by the previous Conservative government -- will be phased out on July 1. The credit enabled public transit users to apply 15 per cent of their eligible expenses on monthly passes and other fares toward reducing the amount of tax they owe. Ending that tax break is expected to save Ottawa more than $200 million a year. Of course, Uber Canada isn't so fond of the idea, calling it a "tax on innovation" that would hurt Uber drivers and users. The company said in a statement: "At a time when Canadians spend far too much time stuck in traffic -- and people should be encouraged to leave their cars at home, take public transit, and share rides -- we should be supporting policies that make sustainable transportation more affordable, not more expensive. Federal tax laws already offer small business owners a break on collecting sales tax, but unfairly exclude taxi drivers. The best way to support taxi drivers and level the playing field is to extend the same exemption to them."
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- SixXS IPv6 Tunnel Provider Is Shutting Down
yakatz writes: SixXS started providing IPv6 tunnels in 1999 to try to break the "chicken-and-egg" problem of IPv6 adoption. After 18 years, the service is shutting down. The cited reasons are: 1) growth has been stagnant 2) many ISPs offer IPv6 3) some ISPs have told customers that they don't need to provide IPv6 connectivity because the customer can just use a tunnel from SixXS This last reason in particular made the SixXS team think they are doing more harm than good in the fight for native IPv6, so they will be shutting down on June 6.
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- The Compulsive Patent Hoarding Disorder
An anonymous reader shares an article: It takes money to make money. CSIR-Tech, the commercialisation arm of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), realised this the hard way when it had to shut down its operations for lack of funds. CSIR has filed more than 13,000 patents -- 4,500 in India and 8,800 abroad -- at a cost of $7.6 million over the last three years. Across years, that's a lot of taxpayers' money, which in turn means that the closing of CSIR-Tech is a tacit admission that its work has been an expensive mistake -- a mistake that we tax-paying citizens have paid for. Recently, CSIR's Director-General Girish Sahni claimed that most of CSIR's patents were "bio-data patents", filed solely to enhance the value of a scientist's resume and that the extensive expenditure of public funds spent in filing and maintaining patents was unviable. CSIR claims to have licensed a percentage of its patents, but has so far failed to show any revenue earned from the licences. This compulsive hoarding of patents has come at a huge cost. If CSIR-Tech was privately run, it would have been shut down long ago. Acquiring Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) comes out of our blind adherence to the idea of patenting as an index of innovation. The private sector commercializes patents through the licensing of technology and the sale of patented products to recover the money spent in R&D. But when the funds for R&D come from public sources, mimicking the private sector may not be the best option.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Massive Ukraine Munitions Blasts May Have Been Caused By a Drone
dryriver writes: The BBC reports that 20,000 people are being evacuated from the immediate area around a munition dump in Ukraine that has gone up in flames. The 350 hectare munition dump near Kharkiv is around 100km (60 miles) from fighting against Russian-backed separatists and was used to supply military units in the conflict zone in nearby Luhansk and Donetsk. A drone was reported to have been used in an earlier attempt to set the facility on fire in December 2015. Authorities are now investigating whether someone possibly flew a drone over the facility that dropped an explosive device that caused the stored munitions to catch fire and explode. Ukrainian authorities believe that the conflagration at the facility is the result of sabotage.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Feds: We're Pulling Data From 100 Phones Seized During Trump Inauguration
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: In new filings, prosecutors told a court in Washington, DC that within the coming weeks, they expect to extract all data from the seized cellphones of more than 100 allegedly violent protesters arrested during the inauguration of President Donald Trump. Prosecutors also said that this search is validated by recently issued warrants. The court filing, which was first reported Wednesday by BuzzFeed News, states that approximately half of the protestors prosecuted with rioting or inciting a riot had their phones taken by authorities. Prosecutors hope to uncover any evidence relevant to the case. Under normal judicial procedures, the feds have vowed to share such data with defense attorneys and to delete all irrelevant data. "All of the Rioter Cell Phones were locked, which requires more time-sensitive efforts to try to obtain the data," Jennifer Kerkhoff, an assistant United States attorney, wrote. Such phone extraction is common by law enforcement nationwide using hardware and software created by Cellebrite and other similar firms. Pulling data off phones is likely more difficult under fully updated iPhones and Android devices.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Microsoft's OneDrive Web App Crippled With Performance Issues On Linux and Chrome OS
Iain Thomson, reporting for The Register: Plenty of Linux users are up in arms about the performance of the OneDrive web app. They say that when accessing Microsoft's cloudy storage system in a browser on a non-Windows system -- such as on Linux or ChromeOS -- the service grinds to a barely usable crawl. But when they use a Windows machine on the same internet connection, speedy access resumes. Crucially, when they change their browser's user-agent string -- a snippet of text the browser sends to websites describing itself -- to Internet Explorer or Edge, magically their OneDrive access speeds up to normal on their non-Windows PCs. In other words, Microsoft's OneDrive web app slows down seemingly deliberately when it appears you're using Linux or some other Windows rival. This has been going on for months, and complaints flared up again this week after netizens decided enough is enough. When gripes about this suspicious slowdown have cropped up previously, Microsoft has coldly reminded people that OneDrive for Business is not supported on Linux, thus the crap performance is to be expected. But when you change the user-agent string of your browser on Linux to match IE or Edge, suddenly OneDrive's web code runs fine. The original headline of the story is, "Microsoft loves Linux so much, its OneDrive web app runs like a dog on Windows OS rivals".
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Intel Creates AI Group, Aims For More Focus
Intel's artificial intelligence efforts have been scattered over many different units but are now being united into a single operating group. The Artificial Intelligence Products Group will focus on the development of chips and software products tied to machine learning, algorithms, and deep learning. From a report: The company has been repositioning via acquisitions to focus on Internet of Things to autonomous vehicles. The upshot is that Intel is trying to build a data center to IoT stack powered by its processors. In a blog post, Rao outlined how the Artificial Intelligence Products Group will work across multiple units. Part of the group's remit will be to bring AI costs down and forge standards. Rao said the group will combine engineering, labs, software, and hardware from its portfolio.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Boy, 4, Uses Siri To Help Save Mum's Life
A four-year-old boy saved his mother's life by using her thumb to unlock her iPhone and then asking it to call 999. From a report: Roman, who lives in Kenley, Croydon, south London, used the phone's voice control -- Siri -- to call emergency services. Police and paramedics were sent to the home and were able to give live-saving first aid to his mother.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- 'New' Clouds Earn Atlas Recognition
Twelve "new" types of cloud -- including the rare, wave-like asperitas cloud -- have been recognized for the first time by the International Cloud Atlas. From a report: The atlas, which dates back to the 19th Century, is the global reference book for observing and identifying clouds. Last revised in 1987, its new fully-digital edition includes the asperitas after campaigns by citizen scientists. Other new entries include the roll-like volutus, and contrails, clouds formed from the vapour trail of aeroplanes. Since its first publication in 1896, the International Cloud Atlas has become an important reference tool for people working in meteorological services, aviation and shipping. The first edition contained 28 coloured photographs and set out detailed standards for classifying clouds. The last full edition was published in 1975 with a revision in 1987, which quickly became a collector's item. Now, embracing the digital era, the new atlas will initially be available as a web portal, and accessible to the public for the first time.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- 71 Percent of Android Phones On Major US Carriers Have Out of Date Security Patches
Ian Barker, writing for BetaNews: Slow patching of security flaws is leaving many US mobile users at risk of falling victim to data breaches according to the findings of a new report. The study from mobile defense specialist Skycure analyzed patch updates among the five leading wireless carriers in the US and finds that 71 percent of mobile devices still run on security patches more than two months old. This is despite Google releasing Android patches every month, indeed six percent of devices are running patches that are six or more months old. Without the most updated patches, these devices are susceptible to attacks, including rapidly rising network attacks and new malware, also detailed in the report.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Disney plotting 15 more years of Star Wars
First we'll get non-digital Leia and Han Solo: Young Adult with Chewie and Falcon back story
Disney CEO Bob Iger has told a conference that the company is contemplating “what could be another decade and a half of Star Wars stories.…
- As ad boycott picks up pace, Google knows it doesn't have to worry
Why the agencies will come crawling back
Analysis Several US-based advertisers have now suspended their advertising with YouTube, following over 200 pull-outs in the UK and Europe. Google had run big brand advertising on hate videos including jihadist groups. Johnson & Johnson, Verizon, AT&T are the latest to hit pause, or withdraw ad budgets from YouTube altogether. AT&T is one of the top-five advertisers in the US, the New York Times notes. In 2015 it was the third biggest spender with $3.3bn across all media, according to AdAge.…
- Three to lawyer up unless Ofcom intervenes in spectrum market
If we can't buy O2, they must give us MOAR SPECTRUM
Three has renewed calls on Ofcom to intervene in the UK's mobile spectrum market, warning it could lawyer up unless the regulator curbs the proportion of airwaves owned by Vodafone and BT's EE in the forthcoming auction.…
- Cambridge wheels out latest smart city platform, ready for devs
Got a good Internet of Things problem-solving idea? Try it out with us, says city
Brainbox greenhouse Cambridge has rolled out the latest stage of its smart city network, the Intelligent City Platform, which talks to the city’s existing LoRaWAN Internet of Things network.…
- Good news, everyone! Two pints a day keep heart problems at bay
And yes, total abstinence isn't good for you
Moderate drinking is good for you, a BMJ-published study has found, directly contradicting the advice of the UK government's "Chief Medical Officer", who advised last year there was "no safe level" of drinking. A daily pint reduces risk of a heart attack and angina by a third, a big data study of Brit adults has found, while total abstinence increases the risk by 24 per cent.…
- Defence in Depth: A 'layered' strategy can repel cold attackers
Yes, a vest, cardigan and an overcoat
The principle of Defence in Depth (“DiD”), says OWASP, is that “layered security mechanisms increase security of the system as a whole”. That is, if one layer of protection is breached, there’s still the opportunity for the attack to be fended off by one or more of the other layers. If anyone’s ever drawn something that looks like an onion on the whiteboard – a load of concentric layers with your infrastructure in the middle – that’s the concept we’re looking at. It’s actually a military term that’s been adopted by security types in the IT industry who want to be tank commanders when they grow up.…
- NASA to fire 1Gbps laser 'Wi-Fi' ... into spaaaaace
You may be struggling with crappy broadband – but future astronauts will be able to easily Netflix and chill in orbit
NASA hopes to use lasers to shoot data to and from the International Space Station and Earth at gigabit-per-second rates by 2021.…
- Huawei picks SUSE for assault on UNIX big iron
Kit and code for those days when you need to hot-swap CPU or memory
Huawei's tightened its relationship with SUSE for extremely high reliability computing, while also denting Microsoft's and Red Hat's prospects.…
- Ubuntu splats TITSUP bug spread in update
Fat-thumbed DNS patch unpatched, time to re-patch
A simple library update turned into a white-knuckle ride for Ubuntu sysadmins, who have lit up Reddit and StackOverflow to complain that their 'net connections went TITSUP (Total Inability To Support Usual Performance).…
- Softcat purrs as customers buy early to dodge Microsoft hikes
Price rises were a nightmare, right? Not for everyone!
Microsoft UK price rises that kicked in at the start of this year weren't bad news for everyone in the country – IT reseller Softcat saw software sales swell as customers purchased licences early to avoid the hefty hike.…
- Can we learn to love AI and sex robots?
Reg lecture explores what turning on a machine really means
If you've wondered how AI and robotics are going to interact with and affect human sexuality – indeed humans full stop – you should really join us on 19 April for our next Register Lecture.…
- Splunk and New Relic say they're now friends with benefits
Developer data meets operations data for – hey presto! – DevOps dashboards
Operations people are often quite fond of Splunk, because it gives them bucketloads of useful data about the performance of the kit they tend. Developers are often quite fond of New Relic, because it gives them bucketloads of useful data about the performance of the code they tend, and its impact on the user experience.…
Linux.com offline for now
- AMD Open-Sources Vulkan "Anvil"
While waiting for AMD to open-source their Vulkan Linux driver, we have a new AMD open-source Vulkan project to look at: Anvil...
- Trying Out Unity 8 + Mir On Ubuntu 17.04
Given there is just one month to go until the official Ubuntu 17.04 "Zesty Zapus" release and past the ordinary freezes and nearly at the final development milestones, I decided to take a test drive this morning of Unity 8 with Mir atop the latest daily Zesty packages.
- Intel Has More P-State Changes Coming For Linux 4.12
Tuning the P-State CPU frequency scaling driver for the Linux kernel feels like a never-ending process. While it's been around for years and continues to be refined, for some Intel CPUs on some workloads, the CPUFreq scaling driver leads to be better performance and even Intel's own Clear Linux distribution is using CPUFreq by default. With Linux 4.12, more intel_pstate revisions are taking place...
- Serious Sam Fusion 2017 Is Working Out Well For RADV Vulkan
This week marked the roll out of Serious Sam Fusion 2017 into public beta first up with Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter and soon to be followed-up by The Second Encounter and Serious Sam: BFE. The Fusion 2017 update is interesting as it brings these classics Vulkan support, 64-bit only, and other engine improvements.
- Nouveau TGSI Shader Cache Enabled In Mesa 17.1 Git
Building off the work laid by Timothy Arceri and others for enabling a TGSI (and hardware) shader cache in the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver as well as R600g TGSI shader cache due to the common infrastructure work, the Nouveau driver is now leveraging it to enable the TGSI shader cache for Nouveau Gallium3D drivers...
- 17 Fresh AMDGPU DC Patches Posted Today
Seventeen more "DC" display code patches were published today for the AMDGPU DRM driver, but it's still not clear if it will be ready -- or accepted -- for Linux 4.12...
- This Week's Mesa 17.1-dev + Linux 4.11 Radeon Performance vs. NVIDIA
Given all the recent performance work that's landed recently in Mesa Git for Mesa 17.1 plus the Linux 4.11 kernel continuing to mature, in this article are some fresh benchmarks of a few Radeon GPUs with Mesa 17.1-dev + Linux 4.11 as of this week compared to some GeForce graphics cards with the latest NVIDIA proprietary driver.
- Qt Wayland Is Next Appearing On Tractors & Farm Equipment
With Qt 5.8's Qt Wayland Compositor Framework taking shape, more developers are beginning to tailor a Qt Wayland compositor to their use-cases. One of those is a company specializing in farm equipment like combine harvesters, tractors, and harvesters...
- Wine-Staging 2.4 Released
Wine-Staging 2.4 is now available as the latest experimental Wine build that incorporates various testing/preliminary patches not yet ready for merging into mainline Wine...
- Ubuntu's Mir Finally Supports Drag & Drop
With Mir 1.0 expected to be coming soon, the developers working on this display server for Ubuntu Linux are tackling the remaining work items, some are larger than others...
- More Radeon Vega Work Lands For LLVM 5.0
Yesterday we saw 100 patches adding Vega support to the Radeon DRM driver as well as 140 patches adding Vega support to RadeonSI Gallium3D. The other big piece of the open-source Linux driver stack for Vega is the AMDGPU LLVM changes...
- Porting Mesa/Libdrm's Build System To Meson Brings Up Controversy
Last week an independent developer proposed replacing the build system of libdrm -- the DRM library that sits between Mesa and the Linux kernel DRM -- to using the Meson build system as a potential replacement to using Autotools. That has led to another colorful discussion around build systems...
- Elgato's control pad is a livestreaming sidekick
The rise of livestreaming has opened the floodgates of casual broadcasting, turning many computer desks into makeshift studios. Peripherals have started catering to this market, like 360-degree cameras. In this niche, Elgato has released the Stream Deck, a standalone mini-keyboard with 15 extra buttons for streamers to program in shortcuts to programs or features.
Just like the extra buttons dedicated to MMO macros on the gaming keyboards of yore, the Stream Deck's buttons are aimed to give users quick access to things nested deep in program files. The keys are shortcuts to suit your streaming style, whether that's firing up Twitter, starting/stopping a stream on Twitch, changing volume levels or dropping in a GIF. Finally, the keys themselves are essentially tiny LCD screens that can hold custom icons. Because who doesn't want to drop in their favorite ridiculous thumbnail into their tiny keypad?
Source: Elgato Stream Deck
- Hackers try to extort Apple by threatening to wipe iPhones
Someone claiming to be a group of hackers called themselves the "Turkish Crime Family" has apparently been trying to extort money from Apple. As remotely wipe devices via iCloud unless it's paid $75,000 in Bitcoin or $100,000 in iTunes gift cards. Today, seen hackers try to extort users directly this way, using Find My iPhone to remotely lock devices until they're paid. We've contacted Apple and will update this post if there are any other details.
Now that at least some of the information has been verified, it seems like a good time for anyone who has (or used to have) an Apple or iCloud account to update and lock down their security settings. Even if these hackers (or someone else) has obtained a password for your account, using two-factor authentication should keep them from being able to access details or remotely wipe devices.
Instructions on setting up two-factor authentication for your Apple ID can be found here. Additionally, if you haven't changed your password in a while, or have ever shared it with an account anywhere else, it's a good idea to change it to something strong and unique. Visit Apple's password reset page at https://iforgot.apple.com/ (check for the secure padlock and correct URL in your address bar) to do that now.
- Facial recognition will help doctors detect rare genetic disease
A group of scientists have used facial recognition for something other than verifying identity or catching crooks on the run. The team from the National Human Genome Research Institute have developed a facial recognition method that can diagnose a rare genetic condition called DiGeorge syndrome in non-Caucasian populations. See, DiGeorge, which is caused by the deletion of a tiny segment in chromosome 22, leads to a number of medical complications and cognitive conditions that make it hard to diagnose. While it also comes with a characteristic facial appearance that should make it easy to detect, it varies widely across ethnicities.
NHGRI medical geneticist Paul Kruszka explains that "Human malformation syndromes appear different in different parts of the world. Even experienced clinicians have difficulty diagnosing genetic syndromes in non-European populations." That's where facial recognition comes in. The NHGRI team studied the photographs of 101 participants with the rare disease from Africa, Asia and Latin America. They then developed a facial recognition tech that was able to correctly diagnose the condition 96.6 percent of the time during their trial runs. The team says their tech can diagnose Down's syndrome, as well.
While it could take a while, the researchers plan to develop their creation further until it can help healthcare providers around the world. Someday, doctors could simply take a patient's picture with their phone, have it analyzed by the facial recognition system and receive a diagnosis.
Source: National Human Genome Research Institute
- Hubble telescope finds black hole shot out of a distant galaxy
Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have observed a supermassive black hole with a mass one million times that of our Sun hurtling away from its parent galaxy. It's the first confirmed case out of several suspected "runaway black holes," which required an immense amount of energy to get launched from the center of its galaxy. How much?
"We estimate that it took the equivalent energy of 100 million supernovae exploding simultaneously to jettison the black hole," said Stefano Bianchi of Roma Tre University, co-author of the study announcing the phenomenon. According to their theoretical model, gravitational waves generated by two other black holes merging 1-2 billion years ago might have sent the supermassive one hurtling spaceward.
The researchers had noticed that the black hole's energetic signature, known as a quasar, was located far from its expected place at the center of its home galaxy, named 3C186. It had already moved 35,000 light-years away, the team calculated, which is farther than our Sun's distance from the center of the Milky Way. The supermassive black hole continues to move at 7.5 million kilometers per hour, a speed that would get you from the Earth to the Moon in three minutes.
- Facebook adds more familiar features to Messenger chats
Facebook has a habit of copping features from other apps and dropping them into Messenger, so the addition of message reactions and @-mentions in the social network's marquee messaging app was probably inevitable as the company slowly merges features across it's products. Like iMessage, Slack and regular old Facebook comment threads, you can now react to individual messages or tag a friend to get their attention in group chats.
Message reactions work exactly as they do in iMessage -- you just press and hold a message to bring up Facebook's set of seven basic love/laugh/cry emoji. For anyone keeping score, a small counter will tally up the reactions and show you who in the chat is showering you with all these emoji. Of course, everything gets a playful animation and its own notification on the lock screen.
Mentions should seem pretty familiar as well: start typing @ and you'll bring up a list of people in the chat. Tag a name and that user will get a special notification letting them know they've been called out.
Mentions and Reactions began rolling out to users today, and they should be available to everyone in the next few days. And for companies using Facebook Workplace, the same features will be available in Work Chat.
- The Wirecutter's best deals: Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro drops to $2,070
This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a buyer's guide to the best technology. When readers choose to buy The Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, they may earn affiliate commissions that support their work. Read their continuously updated list of deals here.
You may have already seen Engadget posting reviews from our friends at The Wirecutter. Now, from time to time, we'll also be publishing their recommended deals on some of their top picks. Read on, and strike while the iron is hot -- some of these sales could expire mighty soon.
Eufy RoboVac 11 robot vacuum
Street price: $220; MSRP: $500; Deal price: $187
This is a new low on our new top pick for best robot vacuum. While this robot vacuum hasn't been on the market long, this is the best price we've seen, a good bit below the $220 street price. Since we don't have a lot of data on the RoboVac, it's hard to say how long this sale will last.
The Eufy RoboVac 11 is our new top pick in our guide to the best robot vacuums. Liam McCabe wrote, "The Eufy RoboVac 11 is the smart-money pick for most people who want a robot vacuum cleaner. In our testing and research, the RoboVac 11 was the most likely to complete a cleaning cycle on its own, without getting stuck and waiting for a human to rescue it. That's the most important part of a robot vacuum's job, and the Eufy 11 does it better than almost any other model we've seen, even those that cost hundreds more. It's also quieter than most other bots, is one of the lower-cost models to come with a remote control, and the brand (an offshoot of Anker) has a good track record for customer service. Its cleaning power is not particularly strong, and its semi-random navigation system may miss patches of floor. But the 2.5-hour battery life (among the longest we've seen) helps to offset those limitations. Overall, it's good enough to keep the floors tidy in just about any home if you run it at a few times per week, yet costs much less and comes with fewer caveats than any other robot vacuums that can say the same."
Kryptonite Kryptolok Series 2 U-Lock
Street price: $36; MSRP: $50; Deal price: $26
An excellent price on this Kryptonite bike lock, matching a low we first saw last month. This is nearly always $30 or more, so at $26, this deal represents a great opportunity to save as bike season gets properly geared up. While our guide has been updated to reflect a new top pick, this one is still a great value at this price. Standard shipping is free. This deal ends 3.24.
The Kryptonite Series 2 was our former top pick in our guide for the best bike locks. Eric Hansen wrote, "This isn't an exciting, novel pick for the best U-lock but it is savvy. Experts, users, and the bike thieves that we interviewed agree that the Series 2 U-lock is strong enough to foil all foilable thieves. It's also light and comes with a stable, easy-to-mount carrying bracket that fits on virtually all bikes. Kryptonite's accompanying "insurance"—costing $20 for three years—is the easiest to purchase, thanks to their rare online form. And it pays okay, too. In the event that some jerk destroys the U-lock and makes off with a bike, then Kryptonite pays the homeowners' or renter's insurance deductible or the replacement cost of the bike. The cable is just one more layer of security discouraging opportunists from nabbing a wheel or seat."
MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2016) with Touch Bar
Street price: $2,400; MSRP: $2,400; Deal price: $2,070
Another nice deal on the 15-inch MacBook Pro, which is continuing to see periodic sales. This $330 drop lowers the price to match the lowest we've seen, and for the new 15-inch (2.6GHz i7, 16GB 2133MHz memory, 256SSD) MacBook Pro, it's a solid deal. It's available in Space Gray and Silver, but in limited quantities. Shipping is free, but a restocking fee of up to 15 percent may apply for returns.
The MacBook Pro 15-inch is our absolute performance pick in our guide to which MacBook Pro you should buy. Dan Frakes wrote, "The 15-inch MacBook Pro is Apple's flagship laptop, designed specifically for people who need the best possible performance: In addition to its 2880×1800, 15-inch Retina display—which has the same increased brightness and color gamut as the 13-inch 2016 models—the 15-inch MacBook Pro is the only Mac laptop with a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, and it has faster graphics processors (including both integrated and discrete GPUs), faster RAM, and faster storage."
August Smart Lock
Street price: $215; MSRP: $230; Deal price: $183
A solid deal on this rarely discounted smart lock. While we've seen the August Smart Lock lower during the holiday season of last year, this is the first worthwhile drop since. Both the dark gray and silver colors are available.
The August Smart Lock is our renter/aesthetic pick in our Best Smart Lock guide. Jon Chase writes, "Maybe you're a renter, and you don't want to replace your whole lock only to have to move it again later. Or maybe you're a homeowner, and you like the appearance of your existing setup. In either case, the August Smart Lock is our pick if you want to keep your existing deadbolt. It's also our pick for Apple HomeKit users. The August hardware replaces only the inside plate and lever of your deadbolt, so the exterior of your door remains unchanged. On its own, the August lock lets you control it with a Bluetooth connection through August's app, which isn't as fast as just tapping the Kevo. Similar to the Kevo Plus upgrade, an optional Internet gateway called the August Connect (about $70 extra at this writing) lets you monitor or control the lock remotely from anywhere. Alternatively, you can use an iPad or Apple TV to achieve that same connectivity. When the August lock is integrated with HomeKit, you can open it with Siri or the Home app (if you have iOS 10)."
Because great deals don't just happen on Thursdays, sign up for our daily deals email and we'll send you the best deals we find every weekday. Also, deals change all the time, and some of these may have expired. To see an updated list of current deals, please go to The Wirecutter.com.
- Samsung finally has an LTE model of the Gear S3 Classic
If you're in the market for a new wearable with a retro look, Samsung today announced that its Gear S3 Classic smartwatch is getting 4G LTE connectivity. The original Classic lacked this feature, opting for WiFi instead. S3 fans had to go with the Frontier version if they wanted LTE.
There's no word yet on how much it will cost or when it will be available, but we do know AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon will offer it. Both the S3 Classic and Frontier currently cost around $350, so it's likely the new model will be in that range. Like its predecessor, the new S3 Classic will have the same minimalist look and silver rotating bezel, which lets users answer or reject calls, read messages and access apps. It also comes with a 1.3-inch circular display that's always on so you can check the time, built-in GPS, Tizen OS and Samsung Pay. We don't know if adding LTE will change the watch's size, but it's unlikely, since the original Classic isn't much smaller than the Frontier.
- Bloody, meatless Impossible Burger will soon be easier to find
The so-called Impossible Burger debuted last year, but it's still pretty difficult to get you hands on one. Although it looks, smells and even bleeds like the real thing, the burger's patty contains no beef, but rather "meat" that's made from plant proteins. Unfortunately, you can only get one at 10 restaurants in the US -- and that's after more were added this week. Impossible Foods, the company that makes the lab-developed beef substitute, is in the middle of a big expansion that should make the burger more accessible.
The company says that it will expand availability of the Impossible Burger to 1,000 restaurants before the end of the year. It's able to do so thanks to a massive new factory in Oakland, California with the goal of producing a million pounds of the meat over the course of each month. Impossible Foods says the new facility will reach peak production status before 2018 rolls around.
Today we announced the news of our Oakland facility getting closer to bringing more Impossible Burger to the world. pic.twitter.com/SlPfXFgAc9
— Impossible Foods (@ImpossibleFoods) March 22, 2017
The concept isn't meant to just give vegans and vegetarians an option that's more like the real thing. Impossible Foods is also hoping that its burger will entice carnivores as well due to added health benefits and the fact that it's more environmentally friendly to produce. The company explains that not only does the process use less water and land, but it also cuts down on overall greenhouse gas emissions.
Impossible Foods adds heme, a substance that makes animal blood red, to its vegan items to replicate the characteristics of real beef. Heme is also found in plants, so the company can use it to make its patties smell and sizzle like meat while it's cooking and bleed like a rare burger, if that's how you like 'em. Of course, Impossible Foods isn't the only company coming up with meat alternatives these days. Beyond Meat has the Beyond Burger, for example. There's also a startup using algae to grow faux shrimp in a lab and another company in San Francisco making "real" cheese without the milk. For all the ways companies are finding to engineer more realistic food substitutes, the only question now is whether or not you're adventurous enough to eat them.
- Jaguar follows Chevy with unlimited LTE for your car
In-car WiFi is only worth having if you've got enough mobile data to make use of it. Following Chevy's lead, Jaguar Land Rover will offer a pre-paid, unlimited AT&T data plan for $20 a month. The luxury automaker says that you can connect as many as eight devices to the LTE network via the InControl feature on certain models, including the Jaguar XE. If that car sounds familiar, that's because it's one of the few that you can make in-car, cashless gas payments from. Would you pony up for the mobile data service? Let us know in the comments.
Source: Jaguar Land Rover
- German researchers built a molecule-splitting artificial sun
Scientists from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) are testing a novel way to generate hydrogen, a potential green energy source, by using a massive array of lights normally found in movie theaters.
It's part of the "Synlight" project, which aims to split water molecules into its component hydrogen and oxygen atoms using the power of the sun. Hydrogen can be used as a green fuel source since burning it doesn't release any greenhouse gasses. But the problem is that hydrogen doesn't occur naturally here on Earth, you've got to break water to get to it.
The Synlight array consists of 149 xenon short-arc lamps, typically used as cinematic spotlights, setup in a honeycomb pattern and all focused on a single 8-inch by 8-inch patch. The amount of energy hitting that space is roughly 10,000 times as intense as natural sunlight and generate temperatures as high as 3,500C. "If you went in the room when it was switched on, you'd burn directly," Professor Bernard Hoffschmidt, research director at the DLR, told The Guardian.
The point of all this is to figure out how to concentrate natural sunlight to most efficiently split H2O. We obviously can't use huge bulb arrays like the Synlight -- it cost $3.8 million to build and sucks down as much power in 4 minutes as an average German household consumes in a year. But the Sun generates a nearly unlimited supply of energy that just needs to be harnessed. It's a similar concept to modern solar thermal power plants, though instead of superheating molten salt mixtures to drive steam turbines, this process would produce hydrogen fuel.
Via: The Guardian
- Google and Howard University partner for more diversity in tech
Diversity (or the lack thereof) at Silicon Valley companies like Google has been a hot topic in the tech industry of late -- just about every major tech company out there now is publishing diversity numbers and pledging to make their workforces more than just white men. Google today has just announced a new partnership with Howard University to help improve its own diversity. As Google VP Bonita Stewart (herself a Howard alum) writes, the new "Howard West" program is a residency at Google's Mountain View campus for black computer science majors.
The goal is to give those students more exposure and opportunities out in Silicon Valley. "The lack of exposure, access to mentors and role models are critical gaps that Howard West will solve," Stewart writes. She says that Google has also found "systematic barriers lead to low engagement and enrollment in CS, low retention in CS programs and a lack of proximity and strong relationships between Silicon Valley, HBCUs [Historically Black Colleges and Universities] and the larger African American Community."
The program will kick off this summer and is open to juniors and seniors in Howard's CS program. It'll involve attending Howard West for three months at a time, with students under the instruction of both senior Google engineers and Howard University faculty. This is only the first step for the program -- Stewart says that the plan is to scale it up to accommodate students from other HBCUs in the future.
- Apple explores using an iPhone or iPad to power a laptop
The notion of using a phone to power a computer isn't new -- we've seen companies like HP and Motorola try, and ultimately fail, to make it a reality for years. But that's not stopping Apple from considering the idea. The USPTO issued a patent filing this morning detailing how an iPhone, or an iPad, could be used to power an ultraportable laptop, AppleInsider reports. As usual, the patent idea likely won't end up turning into full-fledged product (it was originally filed last September). But it gives us an idea of how Apple is looking at the future of mobile devices and ultraportables.
The patent filing shows off multiple forms of a potential "electronic accessory." One features a slot near the trackpad area where you can drop in an iPhone, which provides all of the hardware necessary to run the Macbook-looking ultraportable. And, in a truly unique spin, the iPhone would also serve as the actual trackpad. Another concept describes sliding an iPad in the screen area to power the accessory. Apple also considers plugging additional batteries and GPU hardware in the accessory base to buoy the performance of the iPhone or iPad.
This might all seem a bit crazy, but it makes sense for Apple to be considering new ways to use its mobile hardware. Both the iPhone and iPad are getting faster every year, and such a nimble accessory could give Apple some intriguing ways to combat the rise of convertible, touchscreen-equipped PC laptops. We're in a world where Microsoft's Surface devices are demonstrating far more innovation when it comes to portable computing, and where Apple is being forced to respond with itsiPad Pro line. It's about time for the Cupertino company to try something new.
Source: USPTO (1), (2)
- Google improves Photos and Duo for lousy connections
Google's been pretty busy this week. It added a location-sharing feature to the Maps app, started allowing sports teams and artists to post directly to its search results, teased us with a preview of Android O and vowed to make sure all Android phones are updated quickly. But it's not done. The company also introduced ways to improve the speed of its Photos and Duo apps, even when network signals are weak.
Those who use Photos on Android should experience faster image backups when they're not connected to WiFi, as the app will automatically save files in a lightweight preview quality first. When a WiFi connection is later detected, Photos will replace these with the full, high-quality versions. The iOS and Android versions of the app will do the same when you're sharing pictures with your friends on low connectivity -- first sending them a lower-resolution image and then pushing the full-quality original over when a stronger signal is detected.
As for the video-calling Duo app, Google is adding a voice-only option so you can talk to your friends without the image stream sucking up all your bandwidth. The company said in a blog post that this feature will "work well on all connection speeds" and rolls out first in Brazil before going live in the rest of the world "in the coming days."
Google's chat app Allo also gets an update to support document-sharing, so those who use the app on Android can send .pdf, .mp3, .apk, .zip and .doc files to each other. This addition isn't related to connection speeds, but it's a handy tool that makes Allo more useful than before. The connectivity-related optimizations for Duo and Photos, on the other hand, are sure to be welcome by those who either have limited data plans or often find themselves in areas with poor coverage.
- Senate agrees to let carriers use your data however they want
The US Senate on Thursday voted in a resolution that will effectively eliminate the consumer privacy rules that the Federal Communications Commission enacted back in October. These rules had required service providers like Verizon and AT&T to obtain the customer's permission before selling their data to advertisers.
The bill's author, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) argues that these privacy regulations place an unfair burden on service providers compared to websites like Google and Facebook, who also collect user data, and constitute a "bureaucratic power grab". This data includes "precise geo-location, financial information, health information, children's information, social security numbers, web browsing history, app usage history and the content of communications," according to an FCC statement.
"Passing this [Congressional Review Act] will send a powerful message that federal agencies can't unilaterally restrict constitutional rights and expect to get away with it," Flake said in a statement. If also passed by the House and signed by the president, the bill would leverage the CRA to halt the implementation of these rules and prevent the FCC from passing "substantially similar" regulations in the future. That means that we'll go back to having to actively opt out from service providers selling our data.
A number of Democratic Senators rallied against the bill before the vote, arguing that it would weaken consumer protections. "Passing [the resolution] will take consumers out of this driver's seat and place the collection and use of their information behind a veil of secrecy," said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), "despite rhetoric surrounding our debate today suggesting that eliminating these common-sense rules will better protect consumers' privacy online or will eliminate consumer confusion."
The ACLU also made a statement denouncing the bill's passage. "It is extremely disappointing that the Senate voted today to sacrifice the privacy rights of Americans in the interest of protecting the profits of major internet companies, including Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon," an ACLU representative wrote. "The resolution would undo privacy rules that ensure consumers control how their most sensitive information is used. The House must now stop this resolution from moving forward and stand up for our privacy rights."
This isn't the first time that the Republican majority in Congress have used a CRA to reverse Obama-era regulations. In February, the president signed three such acts: one of which rolled back protections against the mentally ill purchasing firearms, another that had prevented coal mining operations from dumping waste into waterways and a third that required energy companies to disclose financial donations to foreign governments.
- WikiLeaks: CIA has all sorts of tools for hacking your 2008-era Mac (updated)
One of Apple's big talking points is that Macs don't get viruses and that they're relatively safe when compared to Windows PCs. Well, about Vault 7. The organization's latest dump is a handful of documents from the Central Intelligence Agency that detail, among other things, how the agency can infect a MacBook Air during its boot cycle via a modified Thunderbolt-to-Ethernet adapter. With "Sonic Screwdriver," the CIA's monitoring tools are stored on the dongle and the machine can be infected even if it's password protected. Considering how dongle dependent the new MacBooks are, this sort of exploit becomes even more worrying.
Next on the list is a project called "Dark Matter" which is an umbrella for a handful of other spying initiatives. Perhaps most troubling is that these infections can persist even if you reinstall OS X. Then there's "NightSkies 1.2" which, as of 2008, was used to infect brand new iPhone 3Gs.
"While CIA assets are sometimes used to physically infect systems in the custody of a target, it is likely that many CIA physical access attacks have infected the targeted organization's supply chain, including by interdicting mail orders and other shipments (opening, infecting and resending) leaving the United States or otherwise," WikiLeaks writes.
So, the CIA could intercept iPhone orders, put malware on them and then make sure the devices got to a target. WikiLeaks also notes that despite some of the comparatively ancient dates on the documents, it appears the CIA continues using and updating at least a few of them.
We've reached out to Apple for more information and will update this post should it arrive. In the case of the intercepted iPhones, there isn't much you can do (you've probably upgraded by now, and also are unlikely to be a target of CIA surveillance). But for everything else, just remember: Don't leave your laptop unattended in the open, and do not plug anything into your computer that was given to you by a stranger.
Update: Apple has responded, saying in a statement to Wikileaks
- What we love and hate about 'Mass Effect: Andromeda'
A veteran Mass Effect player and a complete novice walk into a bar.
This isn't the beginning of a terrible joke: Instead, it's the premise of a conversation between Engadget associate editor Timothy J. Seppala and senior reporter Jessica Conditt, both of whom have been playing the latest Mass Effect game, Andromeda, over the past few weeks. Tim has devoured and adored the Mass Effect series for almost a decade while Jessica has never touched the games before.
How does Andromeda compare to previous Mass Effect games? Does it stand on its own as a worthy addition to the sci-fi genre? Are the animations always this messed up? In the following conversation, Tim and Jessica discuss Andromeda's highs and lows from two vastly different perspectives -- and somehow, they end up with similar conclusions.
Spoilers for the entire Mass Effect series reside below; you've been warned.
Timothy J. Seppala, Mass Effect fan
Jess, it pains me to say this, but I don't want to play more of has already noticed.
It's not all terrible though. I truly enjoy Andromeda's combat; these scenes remind me of Halo and Gears of War but with a fun super-powered twist. I also love how my character looks: I'm playing as Chenault Ryder, a female model with neck and face tattoos and cotton-candy pink hair. It's wonderful to see her flying around deep space, kicking ass.
What I'm most curious about is the story. So far, Andromeda's narrative has felt uninspired, and I'd always had the sense that Mass Effect was a rich and unique sci-fi landscape. So, Tim, tell me: How does Andromeda's story compare with previous Mass Effect games?
Well, so far, the narrative is on a much smaller scale -- the polar opposite of the previous games. The Shepard trilogy was a gigantic space opera about saving the galaxy from a race of ancient machines that emerge from their hiding spots and wipe the galaxy of all organic life every 50,000 years. You know, the usual. On top of that, Shepard him/herself had to represent humanity to the rest of the galaxy and prove that we aren't just a bunch of bullies. Or not. I mean, if your evil-speech skill was high enough, you could coerce the end boss to commit suicide.
A tale of two Ryders: Jessica's Chenault (pink hair) and Tim's Veronica (brunette)
In contrast, Andromeda feels a little more personal and self-contained. As one of the twentysomething Ryder twins (above), you're out to find your dad and somehow settle an entirely new galaxy. And then a few laborious hours of generic third-person shooting and an overlong vehicle segment later, Andromeda reveals its hand and shows what the game is really about. Rather than appeasing the Space United Nations, you're dealing with interpersonal conflicts. There are larger implications from your actions though. Will your first outpost on an alien world be a research facility focusing on science? Or is setting up a military to help guard against the Kett, your cannon fodder for the game, more your style?
Kill everyone, obviously.
Jerk. See, I picked science because (at least in video games) I'm idealistic and want to show the galaxy that we don't always need to pull a gun to get a point across. That choice is already bearing fruit. Those narrative themes work for me; establishing an identity for the human race and settling worlds is kind of my jam. But Andromeda has other story ideas in mind too. Like the Kett leader who's a religious fanatic and effectively turns the game's new alien race into zombies. I could not care less for this. I'm guessing at some point I'll have to put my terraforming efforts and search for Dad aside and kill him. My hangup is that it's a generic sci-fi trope, and one that's been done many times over in other games. 'Sup, Halo?
More damning than that, Andromeda is doing a poor job of getting new players up to speed with the galaxy's goings-on. The story takes place 600 years adjacent to the original trilogy, but (spoiler) there are some returning names. Words like "genophage" and "geth" are peppered casually throughout conversations with no real explanation for what they are. Or when they are detailed it feels shoehorned in, like half-assed fan service.
In Andromeda your ship's pilot is a Salarian.
To your larger point, what I've always loved about the series is its absurdly detailed world building. At the risk of oversimplifying, the Salarians and Krogan hate each other because the former used genetic engineering to reduce the latter's population. Krogan are a race that thrives on war and conflict, so in the interest of the greater good a vast majority of the race was sterilized with the genophage. In Mass Effect 3 I reversed that, and Mordin Solus, my crew's Salarian scientist, sacrificed his life doing so. The Krogan/Salarian relationship was one of many like it, and they were all incredibly well done.
That is what I'm missing from Andromeda: The sense of a living, complex universe.
See, I thought it was just me.
One of my other gripes is that in the Shepard games, story and character development we not only delivered via exposition dumps or conversations but also peppered into combat. Picking my two squadmates before going planetside was dictated as much by who I wanted to learn more about as it was by their combat abilities. They'd chatter among themselves during quiet moments, and, in a firefight, I could use space magic to lift an enemy off the ground and have one squadmate slam him back into it while another sniped from a distance.
As far as I can tell, that isn't the case here. I spent the majority of my time on Havarl, the fourth planet, with two lockjawed squadmates. And aside from ordering my Krogan, Drack, to move to one position and Jaal the Angaran to another, there isn't much by way of tactics. It feels like a huge step backward both for gameplay and narrative reasons. In Andromeda I can sub in basically any squadmate and the sortie will feel the same. The combat is fine (aside from the finicky cover system), but it definitely doesn't feel like Mass Effect.
"The combat is fine" sums up my feelings as well. I actually enjoy the shooty-shooty-bang-bang portions of Andromeda so far, though I've played more-enthralling action games already this year. Of course, I'm not comparing Andromeda to the teamwork mechanics of previous games.
As for the narrative -- I love the idea of colonizing a new galaxy for the human race. That's an incredible premise for a video game, though it definitely has been done before. With such a pure sci-fi premise, Andromeda has to nail its storytelling arcs and build believable, complex characters and relationships; otherwise, the entire game becomes bland. Unfortunately, the details are precisely where the story falls apart for me. I don't care much about my crewmates yet, partially because I can hardly see their faces while I'm talking with them, and the story beats don't always align with the personality choices I make.
At one point, I land on an alien planet for the first time and instruct my crew to be vigilant yet respectful. "We're the aliens here," I say around bubblegum-pink lip gloss (Chenault is very on trend). A handful of minutes later, I'm pumping a horde of strange creatures full of lead and lasers, and my squadmates are telling me to shoot any other aliens that I see on sight, in a "give 'em hell, kid" kind of way. The transition from cautious explorer to violent conqueror is whiplash-inducing.
I love the idea of colonizing a new galaxy for the human race. That's an incredible premise for a video game. Unfortunately, the details are where the story falls apart.
I love the epic scope of Andromeda. I think this kind of story -- one that deals with the cosmic future of the human race -- is relevant right now, as private companies are gearing up to colonize Mars and NASA is discovering potentially habitable planets in nearby galaxies. Essentially, it feels as if Andromeda represented a brilliant opportunity to tell a powerful story about humanity's future, and BioWare took the whole thing in an expected, generic direction.
It's not bad. It's just kind of boring.
Portions of Andromeda are gorgeous, though these are mainly cut scenes, and I adore my own character. The combat moments are engaging and fun, though so far they represent a minority of the gameplay. Much of Andromeda deals with dialogue choices and building personal relationships among the characters, but so far I haven't formed any memorable friendships, foes or love interests.
There's nothing about Andromeda that makes me want to boot it up at the end of the day; I don't ponder its story or crave its mechanics when I'm not playing. Unfortunately for BioWare, 2017 is a great year for role-playing games, with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and We watched as numerous key talent left during Andromeda's development cycle - - including longtime executive producer Casey Hudson and, prior to that, studio founders Drs. Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk - - and I can't help but feel some of that is reflected in the game's narrative. That's not to mention the wildly inconsistent nuts and bolts of its gameplay.
If it weren't for the promise that everything I do in this game will carry forward, I wouldn't give a second thought to putting Andromeda down for good. Really all I want to do is drop the difficulty to "easy" so I can enjoy the best aspect of what I've played so far: lengthy bouts of talking with my crew. I'm well past the awful beginning hours that've plagued the series since 2007. Now? I want to get to the good stuff as frequently as possible. I have some time before the sequel though, so like you I'm going back to Zelda and Horizon. What makes Andromeda so troubling is that I'm not sure if Mass Effect is still for me and if BioWare remembers what made the previous games so special.
- Instagram will start blurring 'sensitive' photos in your feed
In recent months, Instagram has taken some long-overdue steps to reduce abuse on its platform and generally make the experience better and safer for all users. Today, the company has announced another change in line with those goals. When you're browsing pictures or a user profile, you might start seeing a filter over images marked as "sensitive." Instagram says that these images are ones that other users have reported but don't technically violate the service's guidelines.
While full nudity isn't allowed on Instagram, for example, you can still get away with posting pretty racy images. If those images have been reported and Instagram's team deems them "sensitive," they'll be blocked by default. You can simply tap the screen to get the full image, though. It's not a bad addition, but Instagram should probably offer a way to turn the setting off for people who don't really care about having images filtered.
Another change announced today is one everyone should take advantage of: two-factor authentication. It's been around in limited fashion for a while, but now it's available to everyone. It works just like you'd expect -- once turned on, you'll need a code sent to your phone via text message every time you log in. Before you turn it on, just make sure that the phone number linked to your Instagram account is the current number you're using.
Instagram has also launched a stand-alone website as a one-stop shop for keeping your experience on the service safe and positive. It'll give you an overview of things like blocking accounts, tagging photos, managing comments and other things you'll use to control your experience. All these features should be rolling out today, so check the Instagram app and site if you want to try this all out.
- The panic and pleasure of online dating as a woman in her 40s
Dating in my twenties and thirties made me feel like Odysseus, trying to choose between dashing myself on the ego-bruising rocks of casual romps or a slow death from unrequited lust for garbage humans. There was the ex who brutally dumped me but wouldn't stop emailing me for months, whose presence at dorky work gatherings made me dizzy; the sociopathic film critic whose shoulder I virtually cried on; the go-nowhere first dates; and the great, wide swaths of time spent single, usually pining after some unavailable director or writer who'd relish my attention and nothing else. And lots of therapy.
There were a few things that sent me into a panic about turning 40, but the biggest — looming larger than the golden ring of a book deal or a staff job or, like, finally going back to yoga — was what it meant for me to still be single and actively looking for a partner at that age. Not so much even that I was single, but that I cared and what that implied. It just felt really basic, to be frank. There are plenty of things I simply do not give a single solitary fuck about when it comes to what women my age are supposed to be doing. So why did this one detail bother me?
If you're not familiar with the exciting world of online dating, sites and apps let you set search parameters that range from location to body type to education and, yes, age range. Just as there are movies on Netflix you might never stumble across in your bleary-eyed scrolling, there are plenty of people you might never see through some whim of programming code. Moreover, there's the human factor; it's much easier to reject someone arbitrarily than it is to make an exception. Those exceptions take effort, and online dating is like Amazon Prime for sex. (And love, ideally.) If it weren't for the algorithms, I could meet all of these people IRL and they wouldn't know I was 40 unless I showed them my birth certificate — ah, the very idea made me irate. How dare they reject me before I could reject them!
I've had dating profiles on and off for years. Whether they were the ancient Nerve.com ads I helped beta test as an intern or the old standby OKCupid, I'd invest time and energy into meeting men I wouldn't otherwise come across in my day-to-day life (read: freelancing at home, usually pantless). Eventually, I'd get fed up with the banality of it all, hide my profile or delete the app. It has generally been rote and fruitless, with occasional flurries of excitement, but for someone who makes their living with words, I've had a weirdly difficult time wooing dudes with them.
Still, the day after I turned 40, I decided to fire up an old profile and see what happened. I'd taken a break from dating after a quick but hot liaison with a punk I'd met at a Damned concert petered out, but I wanted to, you know, put the vibes out there into the universe. As I waded through OkCupid's endless questions and block of text, I imagined the countless men of New York City setting their age filters to 35 or, gasp, 39, and I wondered if it was true that anyone who didn't accept me as I am isn't worth knowing.
It never occurred to me in a serious way before this to lie about my age, even when I hit 30 or 35. In the context of dating, those ages felt a lot less damning than 40; they felt a lot more viable. Like my eggs. As ambivalent as I am about having my own children, there's something haunting about that scene from My Cousin Vinny where Marisa Tomei stomps her foot about her biological clock ticking. My clock didn't begin ticking louder when I turned 40, but the echo of her boots on the floor did.
Before now, the single men I wanted to date weren't interested in nubile twenty-somethings — at least not exclusively — and even in my mid-thirties competition from younger women didn't concern me. I had time, and if someone wanted to get up in my grill about having kids eventually, well, my mom had me when she was 38 and I turned out mostly okay. But now I'm encountering divorcees and mid-life crises and men who themselves lie about their ages and cheekily confess, "Haha, just hoping you'd be so charmed by the time you clicked that it wouldn't matter!"
So, is lying the answer? My friend Chelsea G. Summers, who is 54, is firmly in favor of skimming a few years off one's age, though always coming correct with current photos. Like me, she straddles the digital divide; we remember a time before DOS, but not a lot of dating without the accompanying click and beep of a modem. "I'd call it a slow attrition of diminishing returns," Chelsea said about dating in NYC. "I feel as if I make out with a guy and tell a guy I'd like to enjoy sexual congress, he should be stoked. I had about a year-long run of being semi-seduced by men to have them hightail it, like scared little bunnies. It was making me feel like crap, so I went to Europe, specifically Stockholm, and immediately got laid."
For the time being, going to Europe is off the table for me, if only because I hid my passport from myself after a long-distance tryst with someone I'd met on a work trip went sideways. Luckily, OKCupid's data is much more optimistic than my friend Chelsea. Data scientist Dale Markowitz wrote via email, "When it comes to receiving quality messages on OkCupid (that is, first messages that turn into conversations), there is no penalty to being 40 or over. In fact, the proportion of men to women on OkCupid grows with age; women over 40 get on average more messages than women under 40, and have the pick of the litter, so to speak."
If Markowitz is right, then perhaps being 40 could be to my advantage. Michael, a gorgeous musician who used to bartend at my local watering hole, is one such sensitive younger dude; he's an old hand at online dating whose sexploits have singed the eyebrows right off my face, but he's also articulate, smart and funny. (You might recognize him from being quoted at length in right here.
- US ordered social media checks for some Visa applicants
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ordered "mandatory social media checks" on all visa applicants who visited ISIS-controlled regions, according to memos seen by increased demands by customs officials to access phones and passwords for Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts.
The four memos instruct agents on how to implement President Trump's latest ban on immigrants from six Muslim-majority nations. Secretary Tillerson reportedly issued the memos and then retracted some of later in response to court rulings in Hawaii and elsewhere that temporarily suspended key parts of the order.
Another cable instructs consular chiefs in each diplomatic mission to identify populations "warranting increased security." Those groups, which could vary depending on the country, could then be screened more carefully by customs officials, according to the memo. Former US officials told Reuters that the "broad, labor intensive" screening described in the memos are currently done rarely, and would significantly increase the workload for consular officials.
US immigration officials use specific set of factors developed over years to target specific applicants for increased scrutiny. However, the new orders would broaden the rules and possibly lead to religious or ethnic profiling, an immigration lawyer told Reuters.
Back in 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under President Obama started formulating a plan to check the social media accounts of Visa applicants following the San Bernardino terrorist attack. In December, it added social media fields in Visa Waiver applications, but the information was optional and the DHS didn't ask for passwords and credentials.
However, in January the agency started checking visitors' Facebook and Twitter accounts, threatening to deny entry if they didn't comply. Last month, the DHS told congress it would consider demanding social media passwords as well from US visitors. Shortly after, visitors (including a US-born NASA scientist), said they were ordered to unlock their phones and hand over passwords and other info.
- Coffee Meets Bagel dating app is trying to end ghosting
"Coffee Meets Bagel," a dating app that promises high-quality matches, has launched a rather pricey premium tier. The company's cofounder told ghosting. The habit is one of the most prevalent issues with services like this, and in an effort to combat the problem, dating apps are turning more and more like the older dating sites they replaced. Coffee Meets Bagel is but the latest one to launch a premium option -- its rivals, including Tinder, also offer similar tiers of their own.
If you choose to pay for membership, you'll be able to see your matches' activity report, like in the image below. It shows how likely they are to send the first message, how long it usually takes them to reply and the last time they were active. You'll also see read receipts when the other person has already seen your messages. That way, you won't have to waste time waiting for responses that'll never come. Finally, you'll get 6,000 "Beans" to spend on the service's various features, such as the ability to see you and your matches' mutual friends. All those perks don't come cheap, though. At $35 a month, you likely have to enjoy CMB's offerings the most to choose it over more affordable options.
Source: TechCrunch, VentureBeat
- Artificial skin with solar cells could power prosthetics
Researchers at Glasgow University have successfully developed a new type of artificial skinthat is more sensitive than our own. Made of just a single atomic layer of graphene, the new soft feeling epidermis functions as its own sophisticated touch sensor. If that wasn't impressive enough, thisartificial 'skin' is also entirely self-powered. Housing a solar panel hidden under its graphene layer, the material manages to absorb over 98 percent of the light available, relying only on the sun to power it.
As well as having huge implications for creating more realistic looking (and feeling) robotics, the new lightweight material could have a profound impact on helping amputees. The man behind the graphene skin, Dr Ravinder Dahiya has begun developing his own 3D printed hands, aiming to help provide amputees with affordable and lightweight limbs.
Thanks to its lack of batteries and the relatively low price of silicon and graphene, including the hands, these robotics only cost $350 to make. This is significantly cheaper than the standard battery-operated prosthesis -- which typically cost tens of thousands of dollars. Dahiya released a brief video demonstrating the capabilities of a prototype hand, showing the gentle touch in action.
Outside of robotics, he suggests that this new skin could have a wide range of different applications. With the highly sensitive material being able to detect the slightest of movements, it has the potential to make a surprisingly accurate sweat sensor for gym clothes. Outside of the touch sensor, Dahiya also suggests that the solar tech could be used to easily power devices like glucose monitors, allowing doctors to observe patients who have no access to electricity.
Yet according to Doctor Dahiya, his work is only just beginning. "The next step for us is to further develop the power-generation technology...and use it to power the motors which drive the prosthetic hand itself. This could allow the creation of an entirely energy-autonomous prosthetic limb."
Source: Lab manager
- Alaska Airlines: Goodbye 'Virgin America,' hello comfier flights
Virgin America has been the airline of choice for many travelers due to its on-board amenities, including comfy seating, mood lighting, Netflix and Spotify. However, the name won't be around much longer. Alaska Airlines, which bought the airline last year, announced this week that it plans "to retire" the Virgin America name and logo "likely sometime in 2019." As you can imagine, many were upset the beloved brand was being shuttered, including Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson.
"It has a very different business model and sadly, it could not find a way to maintain its own brand and that of Virgin America," Branson said.
Alaska Airlines says a number of the things that made Virgin America so great in the eyes of travelers won't go away -- namely its dedication to stellar customer service. The company was also quick to reveal changes coming to the in-flight experience as a way of softening the blow that the go-to airline for many will no longer be around. And yes, there will be mood lighting.
Next year, Alaska Airlines says it will debut a redesigned cabin complete with new seats and more. In the fall of 2018, all of the company's Boeing aircraft will be retrofitted with high-speed satellite WiFi to improve internet during flights. The same upgrade will be applied to Alaska Airlines' Airbus fleet afterwards with all planes expected to be equipped with faster WiFi by the end of 2019. The airline says you can expect to stream movies and shows from your service of choice when the upgrade to more reliable connectivity is complete.
The airline already offers a catalog of over 200 movies and TV shows directly to passenger devices free of charge. That in-flight entertainment option is now permanently available on Alaska Airlines' Boeing fleet and it arrives on the Airbus aircraft this August. If you're flying on an Airbus plane, you'll still be able to purchase new releases. If you don't mind handing over a few dollars, of course.
Alaska says it was the first and only airline to offer free in-flight chat when it did so in January. The amenity allows passengers to stay in contact with folks on the ground with apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and iMessage. This August, that free chatting will also be available on Airbus flights.
While Virgin America may be going away in a few months, it's clear Alaska Airlines is focused on improving the air travel experience to keep faithful customers happy. More premium seats, faster WiFi and easy-to-access entertainment options are a start, but it will be interesting to see if the company takes on more of the Virgin persona after the brand is officially "retired."
Source: Alaska Airlines, Virgin
- Researchers make super-cheap smartphone sperm test
Harvard researchers have developed a new device that helps men easily measure their fertility at home with their smartphone. While similar test kits exist, what sets this prototype apart is its affordability. Costing just $4.45 to make, this impressive prototype takes less than five seconds to test your little swimmers, analyzing their count and ability to swim with 98 percent accuracy.
Instead of simply relying on an app like similar at-home fertility tests, this method also utilizes a tech-filled smartphone case. Using a disposable microfluidic chip with a tiny tube, participants can draw up to 35 microlitres of semen inside of its bulb, slotting the sealed sample safely back inside the phone case. Once contained, the device's LEDs and lenses illuminate and magnify the sperm-packed chip, allowing the app to analyze your swimmers using stills taken from videos by your phone's camera.
The only downside to the test so far is that it struggles to detect deformed sperm - a crucial part of assessing fertility. With the device still in the early stages, however, the researchers remain confident that better processing algorithms and upgraded hardware could quickly help the device overcome these limitations.
While this isn't the the first method that allows men to test the potency of their seed, it's certainly one of the best implemented. Previously announced fertility apps, Yo and Trakhave offered similar at home testing solutions, with Trak already receiving FDA approval. Yet while Trak requires you to enter information from its measurement device manually, this new method allows users to get the same results with minimal effort. Yo is also a bit lacking in comparison. Offering an app-only solution which measure's swimming ability, Yo unfortunately involves users getting sperm uncomfortably close to your phone's camera.
With an estimated 30 million men facing fertility issues around the globe, this new device could help guys to easily and painlessly get themselves tested. Still, with the as yet untitled device currently lacking FDA approval and any kind of marketing strategy, it could well be years before the the impressive new test makes its way into homes.
Source: Science Mag
- Remember Zip disks? These election departments do
You may recall that a couple of years ago we ran a piece talking about how Ada County, the most populous county in Idaho, was desperately looking for Zip disks and drives to help keep its aging voting machines running. As it turns out, Ada County isn't alone. Apparently a lot of counties are in the same boat. Once, while buying a PowerMac G4 from someone (factory-equipped with an internal Zip drive), I stumbled upon his huge collection of external Zip drives and disks, which he promptly handed over as a gift. Other than playing with them out of idle curiosity, I never used them for anything. Instead of disposing of them years later, I guess I should've sent those 15 or so external Zip drives and 30-odd disks as emergency foreign aid to America. Underfunding democracy seems like a terrible idea.
- Secret colours of the Commodore 64
This was freaky. When you owned any 8-bit computer, you became intimately familiar with its colour scheme. This simple photograph blew my mind. That blue colour just wasn't possible. According to the caption, by presenting two colours to the eye and alternating them quickly enough, a whole new colour emerged. What would this new, secret colour look like on your crappy early-90s CRT television? The screenshot was only a hint. Would it glow? Would it flicker? Twenty-six years later, I found out the answer. This article is all about colour switching on the Commodore 64. There are interactive examples to play with below. I haven't found anything else on the topic, so it's possible this is the only resource on the subject. It's amazing what talented programmers can eke out of old 8bit machines.
- Maybe Android tablet apps will be better this year
There's a new Android tablet you can go and buy, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3. Here's our review of it, where Jake notes that apps freeze if they're not in the foreground. Which is a good reminder: Android apps on tablets have never really been very good. They usually end up feeling like stretched-out phone apps. Things have gotten better in the past couple years, but it's still a problem. In fact, it has always been a problem. I wonder if anybody ever told Google that it was a problem and it should try to do a better job incentivizing developers to make apps that work better on tablets. Oh, wait, somebody has. Brutal, but true. Devil's advocate take: since tablets don't matter, do tablet apps really matter?
- Update on HTML5 video for Netflix
About four years ago, we shared our plans for playing premium video in HTML5, replacing Silverlight and eliminating the extra step of installing and updating browser plug-ins. Since then, we have launched HTML5 video on Chrome OS, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera, Firefox, and Edge on all supported operating systems. And though we do not officially support Linux, Chrome playback has worked on that platform since late 2014. Starting today, users of Firefox can also enjoy Netflix on Linux. This marks a huge milestone for us and our partners, including Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Mozilla that helped make it possible. It wasn't that long ago we barely dared to imagine HTML5 video taking over from Flash and Silverlight.
- Google releases Android O Developer Preview
Google has released the first Developer Preview for Android O, which is probably going to be released somewhere in the Fall. There's a lot changes in this one, but the biggest one is probably the limits Android O is going to place on applications running in the background. Building on the work we began in Nougat, Android O puts a big priority on improving a user's battery life and the device's interactive performance. To make this possible, we've put additional automatic limits on what apps can do in the background, in three main areas: implicit broadcasts, background services, and location updates. These changes will make it easier to create apps that have minimal impact on a user's device and battery. Background limits represent a significant change in Android, so we want every developer to get familiar with them. Check out the documentation on background execution limits and background location limits for details. There's more - improvements in keyboard navigation, Navigation Channels for managing notifications, picture-in-picture on smartphones, wide-gamut colour support for applications, several new Java 8 features, and more. A big one for audio people: Sony has contributed a lot of work to audio in Android O, adding the LDAC wireless audio codec. It's available on the usual Nexus devices.
- Nintendo approached Cyanogen for the Switch's OS
In the early life of the Nintendo Switch, when it was still codenamed Nintendo NX, there were a lot of rumors floating around about the device. We saw a console with an oval shape and a screen that seemed built into the buttons and rumors that the new device would run Android as its operating system. While the product we have today resembles nothing of those early prototypes, it looks like the Android rumor may not have been far off. Cyanogen's Kirt McMaster tweeted early this morning to say that Nintendo had approached him about designing a custom Android-based operating system for their new console, but he had some choice words for the company. Add this to the list of terrible business decisions by Cyanogen and its CEO.
- MiniDisc: an appreciation
In this video you'll see the first machine and the last machine as well as some in-between. There's talk about MD-LP, Net-MD and HiMD. It's a personal retrospective of a format that was loved by many people around the world but one that is all too often is judged purely on its lack of performance in the US market. Great video by a great channel. I'm one of those MiniDisc people. MiniDisc was fairly successful in The Netherlands, and quite a few people around me were MiniDisc users as well. I've had countless machines over the years, and I was still using HiMD well into the smartphone era - and carried both a smartphone and my HiMD player for quite a while. Even though the world had long ago moved on to MP3 players and then smartphones, I was still using MD. I've long wondered why, and this video finally made it dawn on me: rituals. Since prerecorded MiniDiscs were rare and incredibly expensive, you copied CDs onto MiniDiscs instead. Especially before the advent of NetMD and later HiMD, you did this without the help of a computer. You'd get a new album, listen to it, enjoy it - and then, to make sure you could listen to it on the go, you plugged one end of an optical cable into your CD player, the other end into your portable MD recorder, and copy the CD in real time. Once it was done, neat freaks like me would even enter all the track information using the little dial on the recorder, track by track, letter by letter. Painstaking doesn't even begin to describe it. Even listening to your MiniDiscs - they were satisfying to hold, the loading and unloading was deeply mechanical, the spring-loading trays were a delight. It was just an endless array of rituals that, while pointless and cumbersome to others, were deeply enriching and soothing to me. I guess it must be similar to people still using vinyl today. To me, MiniDisc was one of the greatest formats - not because it was better or more advanced (even though during the 90s and early 2000s, it actually was), but because it was full of little delights and rituals. Just one of those irrational things that only few of us will ever fully understand.
- Hacking Final Fantasy 1 on the NES
I decided I wanted to hack Final Fantasy 1, one of my favorite games growing up, that I put in more than 100 hours playing. I used fceux as my NES emulator, same as in the video and followed mostly the same patterns. I kept some notes on how I did it and thought others might find the process as interesting and fun as I did. I ended up losing most of the notes from a few years ago, so I went back and rediscovered the different memory locations and values to use again.
- They used to last 50 years
Now refrigerators last 8-10 years, if you are fortunate. How in the world have our appliances regressed so much in the past few decades? I've bought and sold refrigerators and freezers from the 1950s that still work perfectly fine. I've come across washers and dryers from the 1960s and 1970s that were still working like the day they were made. Now, many appliances break and need servicing within 2-3 years and, overall, new appliances last 1/3 to 1/4 as long as appliances built decades ago. They break more frequently, and sooner, than ever before. They rust and deteriorate much quicker than in the past. Why is this happening, and what's really going on? I've been wrestling over these questions for years while selling thousands of appliances, and more recently, working with used appliance sellers and repair techs all across the country. The following is what I've discovered. This is something we've all instinctively known, but Ryan Finlay goes into detail as to what, exactly, are the causes. The article's from 2015, but I stumbled on it today on Twitter, and I thought it was a great, informative read.
- Swatch takes on Google, Apple with own watch OS
Swatch Group AG said it's developing an alternative to the iOS and Android operating systems for smartwatches as Switzerland's largest maker of timepieces vies with Silicon Valley for control of consumers' wrists. The company's Tissot brand will introduce a model around the end of 2018 that uses the Swiss-made system, which will also be able to connect small objects and wearables, Swatch Chief Executive Officer Nick Hayek said in an interview Thursday. The technology will need less battery power and it will protect data better, he said later at a press conference. It makes sense. Unlike as on smartphones or PCs, I don't think people really want applications on smartwatches. Notifications and fitness - that's what seems to define the (admittedly, limited) appeal of smartwatches. There's no reason why a traditional watchmaker wouldn't be able to provide such limited functionality in a robust way, possibly providing anything from watches that are all-screen to mechanical watches with more limited 'smart' additions. With Wear 2.0 effectively being fake news at this point, where else is Swatch going to turn to?
- Intel still beats Ryzen at games, but how much does it matter?
Realistically, nobody should have expected Ryzen to be king of the hill when it comes to gaming. We know that Broadwell isn't, after all; Intel's Skylake and Kaby Lake parts both beat Broadwell in a wide range of games. This is the case even though Skylake and Kaby Lake are limited to four cores and eight threads; for many or most games, high IPC and high clock speeds are the key to top performance, and that's precisely what Kaby Lake delivers. In spite of this, reading the various reviews around the Web - and comment threads, tweets, and reddit posts - one gets the feeling that many were hoping or expecting Ryzen to somehow beat Intel across the board, and there's a prevailing narrative that Ryzen is in some sense a bad gaming chip. But this argument is often paired with the claim that some kind of non-specific "optimization" is going to salvage the processor's performance, that AMD fans just need to keep the faith for a few months, and that soon Ryzen's full power will be revealed. Both parts of this reaction are more than a little flawed. I'm just glad there's finally competition in the desktop processor space again. Intel started to charge some outrageous prices these past few years, but if you wanted the best performance, you really didn't have much of a choice. With Ryzen, AMD is showing the world it's back on track. It might not be there yet in every aspect, but it's an amazingly promising start.
- Microsoft is infesting Windows 10 with annoying ads
Now Microsoft is planning to preload another app in Windows 10: Sling TV. While only US Windows 10 users will get Sling TV preloaded without the necessary subscription, it will sit alongside Candy Crush and Solitaire as other examples of what will soon be described as bloatware. Thankfully, itâÂ€Â™s easy to uninstall these unnecessary apps, but that doesnâÂ€Â™t mean Microsoft wonâÂ€Â™t add more to the mix in the future. Microsoft used to blame its OEM partners for bundling lots of useless apps on Windows PCs, but now it has itself to blame for doing the same to Windows 10. More and more ads are coming to products you actually already pay for.
- NetBSD 7.1 released
NetBSD 7.1 has been released. Some highlights of the 7.1 release are: Support for Raspberry Pi Zero. Initial DRM/KMS support for NVIDIA graphics cards via nouveau (Disabled by default. Uncomment nouveau and nouveaufb in your kernel config to test). The addition of vioscsi, a driver for the Google Compute Engine disk. Linux compatibility improvements, allowing, e.g., the use of Adobe Flash Player 24. wm(4): C2000 KX and 2.5G support. Wake On Lan support. 82575 and newer SERDES based systems now work. ODROID-C1 Ethernet now works. Numerous bug fixes and stability improvements.
- Blocking Windows 7, 8.1 updates for Kaby Lake, Ryzen chips imminent
Ars Technica reports: A recently published Knowledge Base article suggests that Microsoft is going to block Windows Updates for owners of the latest Intel and AMD processors if they try to run Windows 7 or 8.1. Last year, Microsoft announced a shift in the way it would support Windows. Going forward, new processors, including Intel's Kaby Lake and AMD's recently-released Ryzen, would require the newest version of Windows. Users of Windows 7 and 8.1 would be out of luck, with Microsoft having no plans to support the new chips on the old operating systems. Take note.
- Google lies about Google Home playing audio ads
Today some Google Home owners reported hearing something extra when they asked for a summary of the day ahead from the smart speaker: an advertisement for the opening of Beauty and the Beast. Several users on Reddit have noticed the audio ad and Bryson Meunier posted a clip to Twitter. Some Android users also reported hearing the ad through Google Assistant on mobile. And from the Total Bullshit Dpt., also known as Google PR: This wasnâÂ€Â™t intended to be an ad. WhatâÂ€Â™s circulating online was a part of our My Day feature, where after providing helpful information about your day, we sometimes call out timely content. WeâÂ€Â™re continuing to experiment with new ways to surface unique content for users and we could have done better in this case. It was an ad, plain and simple. A corporate statement like this, which is clearly, utterly, 100% a lie, should be illegal, and punishable by massive fines. This kind of callous behaviour is a disgrace.
- Chemistry on the Desktop
For this article, I thought I'd introduce another chemistry application—specifically, BKChem, a free chemical drawing program. As opposed to many other chemistry applications, BKChem provides both a nice GUI for constructing molecules and a set of chemical analysis tools to look at the properties of the newly constructed molecule.
- Two Ways GDPR Will Change Your Data Storage Solution
By now, most companies who do any business in the EU are aware of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect in 2018 and applies to any entity doing business within any of the 28 EU member states.
- Android Candy: That App Is for the Birds!
Usually bird-related apps involve pigs and anger, but if you're a bird watcher like myself, there's another bird app you must download. Cornell Labs has released a free app called Merlin Bird ID that helps identify birds you see in the wild.
- Hodge Podge
For every article, I try to write something that is interesting, entertaining, educational and fun. Sometimes I even succeed. Many other times I have some things I'd like to talk about, but there's not enough of it to fill the space. This time, I decided a disjointed hodge podge would be the theme. So let's just have a virtual nerdy talk about stuff, shall we?
- Preseeding Full Disk Encryption
Usually I try to write articles that are not aimed at a particular distribution. Although I may give examples assuming a Debian-based distribution, whenever possible, I try to make my instructions applicable to everyone. This is not going to be one of those articles.
- GRUB Boot from ISO
Last year I worked on a project to add an OEM-style rescue partition to a computer. Where most OEM installs have a custom program that just rewrites an install image over the top of the partition, in this case, everything was based on open-source software.
- Minifree Ltd.'s GNU+Linux Computers
Minifree Ltd.—doing business as "Ministry of Freedom"—exists mainly for reasons Linuxers will like: to make it easier for people to get computers that respect their freedom and privacy, and to provide funding for a meaningful project, called Libreboot.
- The Problem with "Content"
Back in the early '00s, John Perry Barlow said "I didn't start hearing about 'content' until the container business felt threatened." Linux Journal was one of those containers—so was every other magazine, newspaper and broadcast station.
- Flash ROMs with a Raspberry Pi
I previously wrote a series of articles about my experience flashing a ThinkPad X60 laptop with Libreboot. After that, the Libreboot project expanded its hardware support to include the ThinkPad X200 series, so I decided to upgrade. The main challenge with switching over to the X200 was that unlike the X60, you can't perform the initial Libreboot flash with software.
- Extended File Attributes Rock!
Worldwide, data is growing at a tremendous rate. However, one recent study has pointed out that the size of files is not necessarily growing at the same rate; meaning the number of files is growing rapidly. How do we manage all of this data and files? While the answer to that question is complex, one place we can start is with Extended File Attributes. Continue reading ’
- Checksumming Files to Find Bit-Rot
In a previous article extended file attributes were presented. These are additional bits of metadata that are tied to the file and can be used in a variety of ways. One of these ways is to add checksums to the file so that corrupted data can be detected. Let's take a look at how we can do this including some simple Python examples. Continue reading ’
- What’s an inode?
As you might have noticed, we love talking about file systems. In these discussions the term "inode" is often thrown about. But what is an inode and how does it relate to a file system? Glad you asked. Continue reading ’
- Emailing HPC
Email is not unlike MPI. The similarities may help non-geeks understand parallel computers a little better. Continue reading ’
- iotop: Per Process I/O Usage
Based on a reader comment, we take iotop for a spin to see if it can be used for monitoring the IO usage of individual processes on a system. The result? It has some interesting capability that we haven't found in other tools. Continue reading ’
- SandForce 1222 SSD Testing, Part 3: Detailed Throughput Analysis
Our last two articles have presented an initial performance examination of a consumer SandForce based SSD from a throughput and IOPS perspective. In this article we dive deeper into the throughput performance of the drive, along with a comparison to an Intel X-25E SSD. I think you will be surprised at what is discovered. Continue reading ’
- Putting Drupal to Work
Drupal is a simple but powerful CMS. However, you'll probably want to configure it. Learn how to tweak Drupal's settings to your liking. Continue reading ’
- SandForce 1222 SSD Testing – Part 2: Initial IOPS Results
SandForce has developed a very interesting and unique SSD controller that uses real-time data compression. This affects data throughput and SSD longevity. In this article, we perform an initial examination of the IOPS performance of a SandForce 1222-based SSD. The results can be pretty amazing. Continue reading ’
- Drupal at Warp Speed
Need to setup Drupal CMS but don't have the time to learn how? Try this 30 minute quick start guide. Continue reading ’
- Chasing The Number
The Top500 list is a valuable measure of HPC progress, but the race it has spawned maybe over for many organizations Continue reading ’
- Stick a Fork in Flock: Why it Failed
This probably won't come as a surprise to many, but the "social Web browser" has thrown in the towel. Don't cry for the Flock team - they're flying the coop for Zynga to go make Facebook games or something. But Flock's loyal fans are out in the cold. Why'd Flock fail? There's a few lessons to be learned. Continue reading ’