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LinuxSecurity.com - Security Advisories

  • RedHat: RHSA-2018-3829:01 Moderate: RHGS WA security and bug fix update
    `bbLinuxSecurity.com`/bb: Updated packages are now available for Red Hat Gluster Storage 3.4 Web Administration on 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






  • Fedora 28: php Security Update
    `bbLinuxSecurity.com`/bb: **PHP version 7.2.13** (06 Dec 2018) **ftp:** * Fixed bug php#77151 (ftp_close(): SSL_read on shutdown). (Remi) **CLI:** * Fixed bug php#77111 (php-win.exe corrupts unicode symbols from cli parameters). (Anatol) **Fileinfo:** * Fixed bug php#77095 (slowness regression in 7.2/7.3 (compared to 7.1)). (Anatol) **iconv:** * Fixed bug php#77147 (Fixing 60494 ignored


  • Debian LTS: DLA-1608-1: php5 security update
    `bbLinuxSecurity.com`/bb: Vulnerabilities have been discovered in php5, a server-side, HTML-embedded scripting language. Note that this update includes a change to the default behavior for IMAP connections. See below for



  • Fedora 29: pdns-recursor Security Update
    `bbLinuxSecurity.com`/bb: Fixes CVE-2018-16855 (Crafted query can cause a denial of service) ---- New upstream release with security fixes for CVE-2018-10851, CVE-2018-14626 and CVE-2018-14644


  • Fedora 28: pdns-recursor Security Update
    `bbLinuxSecurity.com`/bb: Fixes CVE-2018-16855 (Crafted query can cause a denial of service) ---- New upstream release with security fixes for CVE-2018-10851, CVE-2018-14626 and CVE-2018-14644




LWN.net

  • 4.20-rc7 and stable kernels
    Linus has released 4.20-rc7, saying:"The plan remains the same: if everything continues normally, I'llrelease 4.20 just before christmas, and then just have a moreleisurely merge window than normal."
    On the stable side,4.19.10,4.14.89,and 4.9.146 are out with a new set ofimportant fixes.


  • [$] Relief for retpoline pain
    Indirect function calls — calls to a function whose address is stored in apointer variable — have never been blindingly fast, but the Spectrehardware vulnerabilities have made things far worse. The indirect branchpredictor used to speed up indirect calls in the CPU can no longer beused, and performance has suffered accordingly. The "retpoline"mechanism was a brilliant hack that proved faster than the hardware-based solutionsthat were tried at the beginning. While retpolines took a lot of the painout of Spectre mitigation, experience over the last year has made it clearthat they still hurt. It is thus not surprising that developers have beenlooking for alternatives to retpolines; several of them have shown up onthe kernel lists recently.


  • Security updates for Friday
    Security updates have been issued by CentOS (ghostscript, git, java-1.7.0-openjdk, java-11-openjdk, kernel, NetworkManager, python-paramiko, ruby, sos-collector, thunderbird, and xorg-x11-server), Debian (gcc-4.9), and SUSE (amanda, ntfs-3g_ntfsprogs, and tiff).


  • [$] Linux in mixed-criticality systems
    The Linux kernel is generally seen as a poor fit for safety-criticalsystems; it was never designed to provide realtime response guarantees orto be certifiable for such uses. But the systems that can be usedin such settings lack the features needed to support complex applications.This problem is often solved by deploying a mix of computers runningdifferent operating systems. But what if you want to support a mixture oftasks, some safety-critical and some not, on the same system? At a talkgiven at LinuxLab 2018, ClaudioScordino described an effort to support this type of mixed-criticalitysystem.


  • A set of stable kernels
    Greg Kroah-Hartman has released stable kernels 4.19.9, 4.14.88, 4.9.145, 4.4.167, and 3.18.129. They all contain important fixes andusers should upgrade.


  • Security updates for Thursday
    Security updates have been issued by Debian (firefox-esr), Fedora (singularity), openSUSE (compat-openssl098, cups, firefox, mozilla-nss, and xen), and SUSE (cups, exiv2, ghostscript, and git).



  • [$] DMA and get_user_pages()
    In the RDMA microconference of the 2018 Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC),John Hubbard, Dan Williams, and Matthew Wilcox led a discussion on theproblems surrounding get_user_pages() (and friends) and theinteraction with DMA. It is not the first time the topic has come up,there was also a discussion about it at theLinux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit back in April. Ina nutshell, the problem is that multiple parts of the kernel think theyhave responsibility for the same chunk of memory, but they do notcoordinate their activities; as might be guessed, mayhem can sometimes ensue.


  • The x32 subarchitecture may be removed
    The x32 subarchitectureis a software variant of x86-64; it runs the processor in the 64-bit mode,but uses 32-bit pointers and arithmetic. The idea is to get the advantagesof x86-64 without the extra memory usage that goes along with it. Itseems, though, that x32 is not much appreciated; few distributions supportit and the number of users appears to be small. So now Andy Lutomirski isproposingits eventual removal:
    I propose that we make CONFIG_X86_X32 depend on BROKEN for a releaseor two and then remove all the code if no one complains. If anyonewants to re-add it, IMO they're welcome to do so, but they need to doit in a way that is maintainable.
    If there are x32 users out there, now would be a good time for them tospeak up.


  • Security updates for Wednesday
    Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (chromium, firefox, lib32-openssl, lib32-openssl-1.0, openssl, openssl-1.0, texlive-bin, and wireshark-cli), Fedora (perl), openSUSE (pdns), Oracle (kernel), Red Hat (kernel), Slackware (mozilla), SUSE (kernel, postgresql10, qemu, and xen), and Ubuntu (firefox, freerdp, freerdp2, pixman, and poppler).


  • Git 2.20.0 released
    Git 2.20.0 is out. Changes include interdiff generation support in gitformat-patch, an improved ability to cope with corrupted patches ingit am, a number of performance and usability improvements, and more.


  • Firefox 64 released
    The Mozilla Blog takesa look at the Contextual Feature Recommender (CFR) in Firefox64. "Aimed at people who are looking to get more out of their onlineexperience or ways to level up. CFR is a system that proactively recommendsFirefox features and add-ons based on how you use the web. For example, ifyou open multiple tabs and repeatedly use these tabs, we may offer afeature called “Pinned Tabs” and explain how it works. Firefox curates thesuggested features and notifies you. With today’s release, we will start torollout with three recommended extensions which include: FacebookContainer, Enhancer for YouTube and To Google Translate. This feature isavailable for US users in regular browsing mode only. They will not appearin Private Browsing mode. Also, Mozilla does NOT receive a copy of yourbrowser history. The entire process happens locally in your copy ofFirefox." The releasenotes contain more details about this release.


  • [$] Large files with Git: LFS and git-annex
    Git does not handle large files very well. While there iswork underway to handle large repositories through the commitgraph work, Git's internal design has remained surprisingly constantthroughout its history, which means that storing large files into Git comeswith a significant and, ultimately, prohibitive performancecost. Thankfully, other projects are helping Git address thischallenge. This article compares how Git LFS and git-annex address this problemand should help readers pick the right solution for their needs.


  • Security updates for Tuesday
    Security updates have been issued by Debian (php7.0), Fedora (keepalived, kernel, kernel-headers, kernel-tools, mingw-uriparser, and uriparser), openSUSE (pdns-recursor), Oracle (kernel), SUSE (compat-openssl098, glibc, java-1_8_0-ibm, kernel, opensc, python, python-base, python-cryptography, python-pyOpenSSL, samba, and soundtouch), and Ubuntu (cups).


  • [$] Measuring container security
    There are a lot of claims regarding the relative security of containersversus virtual machines (VMs), but there has been little in the way ofactually trying to measure those differences. James Bottomley gave a talkin the refereed track of the 2018 Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC)that described work that targets filling in that gap. He and his colleagueshave come up with a measure that, while not perfect, gives a starting point for furtherefforts.



LXer Linux News


  • Image Cropping in Inkscape
    How to crop an image in Inkscape? The best way to crop is to create an object and shrink the picture to the object. The technique will be shown in this guide.



  • Linux Time Command
    The time command is used to determine how long a given command takes to run. It is useful for testing the performance of your scripts and commands.



  • Open source Omega2 module gives way to a "Pro" SBC
    Onion’s “Omega2 Pro” update to its WiFi-enabled Omega2 board boosts RAM to 512MB and flash to 8GB and adds real-world USB and micro-USB ports. The Pro model runs OpenWrt on a 580MHz MIPS SoC. Boston-based Onion launched its IoT-oriented Omega computer-on-module on Kickstarter in early 2015 and returned the next year with an Omega2 model [[he]#8230[/he]]


  • How to Install Laravel on Ubuntu 18.04
    Laravel is an open-source PHP web application framework with expressive, elegant syntax. Laravel allows you to easily build scalable and flexible web applications, restful APIs and eCommerce solutions. In this tutorial we will show you how to install Laravel on an Ubuntu 18.04 system. The same instructions apply for Ubuntu 16.04 and any Ubuntu based distribution, including Linux Mint, Kubuntu and Elementary OS.



  • Schedule a visit with the Emacs psychiatrist
    Welcome to another day of the 24-day-long Linux command-line toys advent calendar. If this is your first visit to the series, you might be asking yourself what a command-line toy even is. We’re figuring that out as we go, but generally, it could be a game, or any simple diversion that helps you have fun at the terminal.Some of you will have seen various selections from our calendar before, but we hope there’s at least one new thing for everyone.read more




  • Head to the arcade in your Linux terminal with this Pac-Man clone
    Welcome back to another day of the Linux command-line toys advent calendar. If this is your first visit to the series, you might be asking yourself what command-line toys are all about. Basically, they[he]#039[/he]re games and simple diversions that help you have fun at the terminal.Some are new, and some are old classics. We hope you enjoy.


  • How to install ERPNext on Debian 9
    ERPNext is free and open source, Python based, enterprise resource planning application, similar to Odoo. It is mostly used by small and medium sized companies and allows them to do financial accounting, project management, human resources and inventory management. ERPNext is available both in cloud-based and on-premise deployment options. In this tutorial we will show you how to install ERPNext on a Debian 9 VPS using the ‘Easy Install’ method with Frappe Bench, using a Python script.



  • How to enable SSH on Ubuntu 18.04
    SSH stands for Secure Shell Service which allows secure remote login and other network operations. In this tutorial, you will learn how to enable SSH on Ubuntu Desktop. By using ssh you can connect to your computer remotely, access files and perform administrative tasks.



  • Podman and user namespaces: A marriage made in heaven
    Podman, part of the libpod library, enables users to manage pods, containers, and container images. In my last article, I wrote about Podman as a more secure way to run containers. Here, I'll explain how to use Podman to run containers in separate user namespaces.read more


  • Best of 2018: Fedora as your Linux desktop
    Gaming on your Linux desktop, trying alternative desktop environments, and tweaking little details such as your boot screen. Yes, it’s been a whole year again! What a great time to look back at the most popular articles on the Fedora Magazine written by our awesome contributors. Let’s dive into the first article of the “best […]


  • How Epic Games Uses Kubernetes to Power Fortnite Application Servers
    In a media and analyst session at the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon NA 18 conference, Paul Sharpe, principal cloud engineering developer at Epic Games, provided some insight into how Epic Games is starting to use Kubernetes to help keep Fortnite's millions of fans happy. Kubernetes is a container orchestration system at its core, that enables organizations to deploy, manage and scale application workloads across distributed physical and virtual server environments



[[LinuxInsider

	Copyright 2018
	http://www.linuxinsider.com|Linux Insider"LinuxInsider"]]
  • Pantheon Desktop Makes Linux Elementary
    Developers of U.S.-based Elementary OS recently released the community's annual major update, Juno 5. What makes this distro so nontraditional is its own desktop interface, called "Pantheon." This desktop interface is somewhat of a hybrid, inspired by Apple's Debian Ubuntu-based OS X. It combines some similarities of the GNOME 3 Shell with the visual finesse of the OS X dock.


  • The Road Ahead for Open Source
    Linux and the open source business model are far different today than many of the early developers might have hoped. Neither can claim a rags-to-riches story. Rather, their growth cycles have been a series of hit-or-miss milestones. The Linux desktop has yet to find a home on the majority of consumer and enterprise computers. However, Linux-powered technology has long ruled the Internet.


  • Deepin Builds a Better Linux Desktop
    Deepin 15.8, released last month, is loaded with more efficient layout tweaks that give the distribution greater functionality and maturity. Deepin, based in China, shed its Ubuntu base when with the 2015 release of version 15, which favored Debian Linux. That brought numerous subtle changes in the code base and software roots. Ubuntu Linux itself is based on Debian.


  • How to Use a VPN for Safer Online Shopping
    With the holidays fast approaching, are you looking to buy presents online? The holiday season has become synonymous with online shopping. This isn't really surprising as physical stores usually attract crowds of deal hunters. This often conjures up images of throngs of people waiting in line outside the store, some even camping out. This activity is tolerable for some and even fun for others.


  • Void Linux: Built From Scratch for Full Independence
    Void Linux is a bit out of the ordinary. It offers an unusually interesting alternative to many of the traditional Linux distros affiliated with a larger Linux family such as Debian or Ubuntu or Arch. Void Linux is an independently developed, rolling-release, general-purpose operating system. That means that its software is either homegrown or plain-vanilla compiled.


  • Free Personal Finance Apps You Can Take to the Bank
    Today's Linux platform accommodates a number of really good financial applications that are more than capable of handling both personal and small-business accounting operations. That was not always the case, however. Not quite 10 years ago, I scoured Linux repositories in a quest for replacement applications for popular Microsoft Windows tools. Back then, the pickings were mighty slim.


  • Acumos Project's 1st Software, Athena, Helps Ease AI Deployment
    The LF Deep Learning Foundation has announced the availability of the first software from the Acumos AI Project. Dubbed "Athena," it supports open source innovation in AI, ML and DL. The goal is to make critical new technologies available to developers and data scientists everywhere. Launched earlier this year, Acumos is part of a Linux Foundation umbrella organization.


  • Getting Clarity on the Private vs. Public Cloud Decision
    News flash: Private cloud economics can offer more cost efficiency than public cloud pricing structures. Private, or on-premises, cloud solutions can be more cost-effective than public cloud options, according to a report by 451 Research and Canonical. That conclusion counters the notion that public cloud platforms traditionally are more cost-efficient than private infrastructures.


  • Google Shows Off New Android Dev Tools
    Google has announced support for a range of new Android tools for application developers, chief among them the creation of a new support category for foldable devices. After years of speculation, it finally looks as though foldable screen smartphones are headed to market. Google's dev announcement followed closely on the heels of Samsung's announcement of a folding phone/tablet prototype.


  • IBM Dons Red Hat for Cloudy Future
    IBM's deal to acquire Red Hat caught everyone by surprise when it was announced less than two weeks ago. While concerns spread quickly about what it would mean for the largest enterprise Linux platform, IBM and Red Hat executives assured employees and customers that Red Hat would continue to operate independently -- at least for now. Intel made a similar acquisition of Wind River in 2009.


  • Got a Screwdriver? GalliumOS Can Turn Chromebooks Into Linux Boxes
    GalliumOS is a Chromebook-specific Linux variant. It lets you put a real Linux distro on a Chromebook. My recent review of a new Chromebook feature -- the ability to run Linux apps on some Chromebook models -- sparked my interest in other technologies that run complete Linux distros on some Chromebooks without using ChromeOS. GalliumOS can be a handy workaround.


  • Overcoming Your Terror of Arch Linux
    A recent episode of a Linux news podcast I keep up with featured an interview with a journalist who had written a piece for a non-Linux audience about giving it a try. It was surprisingly widely read. The writer's experience with some of the more popular desktop distributions had been overwhelmingly positive, and he said as much in his piece and during the subsequent podcast interview.


  • How to Protect Your Online Privacy: A Practical Guide
    Do you take your online privacy seriously? Most people don't. They have an ideal scenario of just how private their online activities should be, but they rarely do anything to actually achieve it. The problem is that bad actors know and rely on this fact, and that's why there's been a steady rise in identity theft cases from 2013 to 2017, often resulting in loss of reputation or financial woes.


  • Mobile Phone Security: All You Need to Know
    We rely on our phones to process and store reams of personal digital data. Our digital activities -- from checking bank balances to paying for a product with a tap of the screen, to sending friends and family messages over social media, to accessing work emails remotely -- have turned our phones into a goldmine of personal information. How secure is your mobile device?


  • Feren OS Delivers Richer Cinnamon Flavor
    Feren OS is a nice alternative to Linux Mint and an easy stepping stone to transition to Linux from Microsoft Windows or macOS. I am a long-time user of Linux Mint, but I am falling out of love with it. Mint is getting stale. That diagnosis started me thinking about a suitable replacement distro that runs the Cinnamon desktop with a bit more innovation and flare.


  • IT Resume Dos and Don'ts: Formatting for Readability
    I'd like to share some common of the most common formatting problems that I see regularly. Of course, an IT resume requires more than great formatting. It requires well-written, targeted content, and a clear story of career progression. It needs to communicate your unique brand and value proposition. Still, if the formatting is off, that can derail the rest of the document.


  • Changing Up Your Linux Distro
    It's common for Linux users to hop between distributions and survey the field, and I recently reached a point where I had to seriously rethink the one I was using most of the time. Between hardware compatibility issues with my old standby and some discouraging missteps with other go-to choices, I felt the time had come to reassess my pool of preferred distributions and repopulate it from scratch.


  • $34B Red Hat Acquisition Is a Bolt Out of Big Blue
    The cloud computing landscape may look much different to enterprise users following the announcement earlier this week of IBM's agreement to acquire Red Hat. IBM plans to purchase Red Hat, a major provider of open source cloud software, for $34 billion. IBM will acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Red Hat for $190 per share in cash, under terms of the deal.


  • Open Source Software: 20-Plus Years of Innovation
    Open source led to a new software development and distribution model that offered an alternative to proprietary software. No single event takes the prize for starting the technology revolution. However, Feb. 3, 1998, is one of the more significant dates. On that day, Christine Peterson, a futurist and lecturer in the field of nanotechnology, coined the "open source" term.


  • Another Milestone Achieved: Run Linux Apps on a Chromebook
    Linux apps now can run in a Chromebook's Chrome OS environment. However, the process can be tricky, and it depends on your hardware's design and Google's whims. It is somewhat similar to running Android apps on your Chromebook, but the Linux connection is far less forgiving. If it works in your Chromebook's flavor, though, the computer becomes much more useful with more flexible options.


  • 2nd New MakuluLinux Release Offers Flash and Substance
    The MakuluLinux Flash distro is splashy and fast with a spiffy new look and new features. MakuluLinux developer Jacque Montague Raymer just announced the second of this year's three major releases in the Series 15 distro family. The Flash edition follows last month's LinDoz edition release. The much-awaited innovative Core edition will debut between the end of November and mid-December.



Slashdot

  • The Decline of American Peyote
    dmoberhaus writes: An investigation into the decline of America's peyote, a hallucinogenic cactus that is critically important to the rituals of the Native American Church, the largest pan-tribal religious organization in the U.S. Motherboard spoke with Dawn Davis, a researcher using satellite data to track the destruction of peyote's habitat, as well as Salvador Johnson, one of only four people who is licensed to harvest and sell peyote in the U.S. by the DEA. "In 2011, Davis traveled to the peyote gardens for the first time and met with Johnson," reports Motherboard. "Davis said that Johnson was following many conservation best practices, such as cycling through the areas where peyote is harvested, but this hadn't slowed the steady decrease in the size and quantity of peyote buttons in his harvests. Today, the biggest threats to peyote continue to be rapid land development, poaching, and rooting by feral pigs -- problems that responsible harvesting by peyoteros can't solve." While there has been an increase in the number of indigenous people growing peyote in greenhouses, this is only a temporary solution to the conservation crisis. Davis is advocating for conservation easements or tax breaks for landowners to encourage the protection of peyote. She also said it will be necessary to push for the DEA to reschedule peyote, which is still considered a Schedule I substance that has "no currently accepted medical use." This makes it exceedingly hard for individuals to become licensed peyoteros.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Bing Recommends Piracy Tutorial When Searching For Office 2019
    aafrn writes: Microsoft is sending users who search for Office 2019 download links via its Bing search engine to a website that teaches them the basics about pirating the company's Office suite. This happens every time users search for the term "office 2019 download" on Bing. The result is a Bing search card (highlighted search results) that links to a piracy tutorial that teaches users how to install uTorrent, download a torrent file, and install an Office crack file. Fortunately, the torrent download links are down, but experts believe the link was used to spread malware.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • A Bright Green 'Christmas Comet' Will Fly the Closest To Earth In Centuries
    On Sunday night, a comet that orbits between Jupiter and the sun will make its closest approach to Earth in centuries. According to Tony Farnham, a research scientist in the astronomy department at the University of Maryland, the comet will appear as a bright, fuzzy ball with a greenish-gray tint. "You've got a one-kilometer solid nuclear in the middle, and gas is going out hundreds of thousands of miles," says Tony. The comet glows green because the gases emit light in green wavelengths. The New York Times reports: The ball of gas and dust, sometimes referred to as the "Christmas comet," was named 46P/Wirtanen, after the astronomer Carl Wirtanen, who discovered it in 1948. It orbits the sun once every 5.4 years, passing by Earth approximately every 11 years, but its distance varies and it is rarely this close. As the comet passes by, it will be 30 times farther from Earth than the moon, NASA said. The proximity of 46P/Wirtanen provides an opportunity to research the tail of the comet and see farther into the nucleus.   The comet is visible now but it will shine even brighter on Sunday as it reaches its closest approach, 7.1 million miles from Earth. That may sound really far, but it is among the 10 closest approaches by a comet in 70 years, NASA said. Only a few of those could be seen with the naked eye. Don't worry if you miss the comet on Sunday. It should be just as visible for a week or two because its appearance will change gradually. After it moves on, it won't be this close to Earth again for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Online charts can help pinpoint its location.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Cydia's App Store For Jailbroken iPhones Shuts Down Purchases
    Cydia, the App Store for jailbroken devices, is shutting down purchases as its creator moves to shut down the store entirely in the near future. "Cydia's creator Saurik made the announcement on Reddit after a bug was discovered in the platform that may have put user data at risk," iPhonehacks reports. "This bug prompted Saurik to clarify the issue and reveal that he has been planning on shutting down Cydia for quite a while now." From the report: The founder clarifies that the bug only puts a limited number of users at risk who are logged into Cydia and browse a repository with untrusted content -- a scenario which Saurik has strongly advised against right from day one. Plus, he also says that this is not a data leak and he has not lost access to PayPal authorization tokens. Coming to the harsh reality, Saurik says that he has been looking to shut down Cydia Store before the end of this year. The reports of a data leak have acted as a catalyst to bring the timetable further up. There are multiple reasons as to why he is looking to shut down the service including the fact that he has to pay for the hefty hosting bills from his own pocket.   Saurik has already gone ahead and shut down the ability to buy jailbreak tweaks in Cydia. This means that one can no longer use the Cydia Store to buy jailbreak tweaks on a jailbroken iPhone. On the bright side, Saurik does intend to allow users to download jailbreak tweaks that they have already paid for. Saurik will also make a more formal announcement about the shutting down of Cydia sometime soon. Do note that this change relates only to Cydia Store and not Cydia the installer which is used to install tweaks on a jailbroken device. The latter will continue to work as usual.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Samsung Kills Headphone Jack After Mocking Apple
    Last week, Samsung introduced its latest smartphone, the Galaxy A8s. Not only is it the first phone of theirs with a laser-drilled hole in the display for the front-facing camera sensor, but it is also their first phone to ditch the headphone jack. Slashdot reader TheFakeTimCook shares a report from Mac Rumors that takes a closer look at the move and the hypocrisy behind it: [The A8s] is also Samsung's first smartphone without a headphone jack, much to the amusement of iPhone users, as Samsung has mocked Apple for over two years over its decision to remove the headphone jack from the iPhone 7 in 2016, a trend that has continued through to the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. While on stage unveiling the new Galaxy Note 7 in 2016, for example, Samsung executive Justin Denison made sure to point out that the device came with a headphone jack. "Want to know what else it comes with?" he asked. "An audio jack. I'm just saying," he answered, smirking as the audience laughed. And earlier this year, Samsung mocked the iPhone X's lack of a headphone jack in one of its "Ingenius" ads promoting the Galaxy S9. Samsung isn't the first tech giant to mock Apple's decision to remove the headphone jack, only to follow suit. Google poked fun at the iPhone 7's lack of headphone jack while unveiling its original Pixel smartphone in 2016, and then the Pixel 2 launched without one just a year later.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • 50 Years On, We're Living the Reality First Shown At the 'Mother of All Demos'
    Thelasko quotes a report from Ars Technica: A half century ago, computer history took a giant leap when Douglas Engelbart -- then a mid-career 43-year-old engineer at Stanford Research Institute in the heart of Silicon Valley -- gave what has come to be known as the "mother of all demos." On December 9, 1968 at a computer conference in San Francisco, Engelbart showed off the first inklings of numerous technologies that we all now take for granted: video conferencing, a modern desktop-style user interface, word processing, hypertext, the mouse, collaborative editing, among many others. Even before his famous demonstration, Engelbart outlined his vision of the future more than a half-century ago in his historic 1962 paper, "Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework."  To open the 90-minute-long presentation, Engelbart posited a question that almost seems trivial to us in the early 21st century: "If in your office, you as an intellectual worker were supplied with a computer display, backed up by a computer that was alive for you all day, and was instantly responsible -- responsive -- to every action you had, how much value would you derive from that?" By 1968, Engelbart had created what he called the "oN-Line System," or NLS, a proto-Intranet. The ARPANET, the predecessor to the Internet itself, would not be established until late the following year.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • How YouTube's Year-In-Review 'Rewind' Video Set Off a Civil War
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: You might guess that a surefire way to make a hit video on YouTube would be to gather a bunch of YouTube megastars, film them riffing on some of the year's most popular YouTube themes and release it as a year-in-review spectacular. You would be wrong. YouTube tested that theory this week, releasing its annual "YouTube Rewind" year-end retrospective. The eight-minute video was a jam-packed montage of YouTube meta-humor, featuring a who's-who of YouTube stars along with conventional celebrities. The video was slickly produced and wholesome, with lots of references to the popular video game Fortnite, shout-outs to popular video formats, and earnest paeans to YouTube's diversity and inclusiveness. It was meant to be a feel-good celebration of a year's worth of YouTube creativity, but the video started a firestorm, and led to a mass-downvoting campaign that became a meme of its own. Within 48 hours, the video had been "disliked" more than four million times. On Thursday, it became the most-disliked video in the history of the website, gathering more than 10 million dislikes and beating out the previous record-holder, the music video for Justin Bieber's "Baby."   The issue that upset so many YouTube fans, it turns out, was what the Rewind video did not show. Many of the most notable YouTube moments of the year -- such as the August boxing match between KSI and Logan Paul, two YouTube stars who fought in a highly publicized spectacle watched by millions -- went unmentioned. And some prominent YouTubers were absent, including Felix Kjellberg, a.k.a. "PewDiePie," one of the most popular creators in YouTube's history, who had appeared in the Rewind videos as recently as 2016. Some YouTubers enjoyed the video. But to many, it felt like evidence that YouTube the company was snubbing YouTube the community by featuring mainstream celebrities in addition to the platform's homegrown creators, and by glossing over major moments in favor of advertiser-friendly scenes. The Times says the Rewind controversy "is indicative of a larger issue at YouTube, which is trying to promote itself as a bastion of cool, inclusive creativity while being accused of radicalizing a generation of young people by pushing them toward increasingly extreme content, and allowing reactionary cranks and conspiracy theorists to dominate its platform."   "But people like Mr. Kjellberg and Mr. Paul -- stars who rose to prominence through YouTube, and still garner tens of millions of views every month -- remain in a kind of dysfunctional relationship with the platform. YouTube doesn't want to endorse their behavior in its official promotions, but it doesn't want to alienate their large, passionate audiences, either," reports the NYT. "And since no other platform can rival the large audiences and earning potential YouTube gives these creators, they are stuck in a kind of unhappy purgatory -- making aggrieved videos about how badly YouTube has wronged them, while also tiptoeing to avoid crossing any lines that might get them barred, or prevent them from making money from their videos." This tension is at the heart of the controversy over YouTube Rewind. "A YouTube recap that includes only displays of tolerance and pluralism is a little like a Weather Channel highlight reel featuring only footage of sunny days -- it might be more pleasant to look at, but it doesn't reflect the actual weather..."
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Instagram Tightens Eating Disorder Filters
    AmiMoJo shares a report from the BBC: Instagram has placed more hashtags which could promote eating disorders on an "unsearchable" list after a BBC investigation found that users were finding ways around the platform's filters. The photo-sharing network has also added health warnings to several alternative spellings or terms which reference eating disorders, some of which are popular hashtags on the platform. BBC Trending found that certain terms promoting bulimia were still searchable - and that the Instagram search bar was suggesting alternative spellings and phrasings for known terms which some see as glamorizing or encouraging eating disorders In one case, the search box offered 38 alternative spellings of a popular term.   Starting in 2012, the photo-sharing site started to make some terms unsearchable, to avoid users being able to navigate directly to often shocking images, and posts that promote the idea that eating disorders are a lifestyle choice rather than a mental illness. If someone enters the unsearchable terms into the platform's search box, no results will come up. An Instagram spokesperson said in a statement: "We do not tolerate content that encourages eating disorders and we use powerful tools and technologies -- including in-app reporting and machine learning -- to help identify and remove it. However, we recognize this is a complex issue and we want people struggling with their mental health to be able to access support on Instagram when and where they need it."
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Facebook Disbands Secretive Research Lab Amid Reorganization
    Facebook has disbanded its secretive research lab, where the company developed new hardware like its Portal speakers and researched moonshot projects like brain computer interfaces. "Building 8, the division Facebook created in 2016 to house some of its most ambitious projects, has been disbanded and the projects have been redistributed to other groups within the social media company," reports Mashable. From the report: The change, which was first reported by Business Insider, marks the end of the "Building 8" brand, though the group's work will continue on. Now, thanks to BI, we know that behind the scenes Facebook has separated the Portal team into its own group, which oversees Facebook's other "unannounced hardware projects." Meanwhile, Building 8's researchers have been shuffled to Facebook Reality Labs (FRL), another new group at Facebook lead by Facebook's top VR researcher, Michael Abrash. The FRL group was created in May, around the same time Facebook announced a bigger reorganization among its top executives.   A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to BI that the Building 8 brand was no more, but said it continues to work on the same projects and hasn't laid off any employees as a result of the re-structuring: "Building 8 was the early name of the team building consumer hardware at Facebook. Building 8 is part of Facebook's AR/VR organization. Now that we're shipping, it's the Portal team. And Rafa Camargo is still leading the team; that has not changed. We also unified research looking at longer terms projects under one team, which became Facebook Reality Labs, which is also part of our AR/VR organization. This includes research projects like the Brain Computer Interface."
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Vine, HQ Trivia Co-Founder Colin Kroll Found Dead of Suspected Overdose
    TechCrunch has confirmed with TMZ that Colin Kroll, the 35-year-old co-founder and CEO of the HQ Trivia app and co-founder of Vine, has been found dead of an apparent drug overdose in his apartment. TMZ cites a police source saying cocaine and heroin were believed to be involved. From the report: Kroll was only named CEO of the HQ Trivia mobile game show app three months ago, replacing fellow co-founder Rus Yusupov who moved over to serve as chief creative officer. Prior to taking the CEO role Kroll served as HQ's CTO. He co-founded the startup in 2015, a few months after moving on from Vine -- the Twitter-owned short video format startup which got closed down in 2017. It's not clear who will take over the CEO role for HQ Trivia at this stage but Yusupov looks a likely candidate, at least in the interim.   Kroll started his career as a software engineer at Right Media, which went on to be acquired by Yahoo in 2006. From then until 2011, he led the engineering team in Yahoo's search and advertising tech group before joining luxury travel site Jetsetter as VP of Product -- where he went on to be promoted to CTO. In 2012 he left to start Vine with co-founders Dominik Hofmann and Yusopov.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Data-Wiping Malware Destroys Data At Italian and UAE Oil and Gas Companies
    An anonymous reader writes: A new variant of the Shamoon malware was discovered on the network of an Italian and UAE oil and gas company. While the damage at the UAE firm is currently unknown, the malware has been confirmed to have destroyed files on about ten percent of the Italian company's PC fleet. Shamoon is one of the most dangerous strains of malware known to date. It was first deployed in two separate incidents that targeted the infrastructure of Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia's largest oil producer, in 2012 and 2016. During those incidents, the malware wiped files and replaced them with propaganda images (burning U.S. flag and body of Alan Kurdi). The 2012 attack was devastating in particular, with Shamoon wiping data on over 30,000 computers, crippling the company's activity for weeks. Historically, the malware has been tied to the Iranian regime, but it's unclear if Iranian hackers were behind these latest attacks. This new Shamoon version was revealed to the world when an Italian engineer uploaded the malware on VirusTotal, triggering detections at all major cyber-security firms across the globe.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Nearly 200 Countries Agree On Global Climate Pact Rules After Impasse
    "Nearly 200 countries overcame political divisions late on Saturday to agree on rules for implementing a landmark global climate deal," reports Reuters. "After two weeks of talks in the Polish city of Katowice, nations finally reached consensus on a more detailed framework for the 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to limit a rise in average world temperatures to 'well below' 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels." From the report: Before the talks started, many expected the deal would not be as robust as needed. The unity which underpinned the Paris talks has fragmented, and U.S. President Donald Trump intends to pull his country - one of the world's biggest emitters - out of the pact. At the 11th hour, ministers managed to break a deadlock between Brazil and other countries over the accounting rules for the monitoring of carbon credits, deferring the bulk of that discussion to next year, but missing an opportunity to send a signal to businesses to speed up their actions. Still, exhausted ministers managed to bridge a series of divides to produce a 156-page rulebook - which is broken down into themes such as how countries will report and monitor their national pledges to curb greenhouse gas emissions and update their emissions plans. Not everyone is happy with everything, but the process is still on track and it is something to build on, several ministers said. Some countries and green groups criticized the outcome for failing to urge increased ambitions on emissions cuts sufficiently to curb rising temperatures. Poorer nations vulnerable to climate change also wanted more clarity on how an already agreed $100 billion a year of climate finance by 2020 will be provided and on efforts to build on that amount further from the end of the decade.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Apple Lied About iPhone X Screen Size and Pixel Count, Lawsuit Alleges
    A lawsuit filed Friday is accusing Apple of falsely advertised the screen sizes and pixel counts of the displays in its iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max devices. The two plaintiffs, who filed the suit in the U.S. District Court of Northern California, are seeking class action status. CNET reports: The suit alleges that Apple lied about the screen sizes by counting non-screen areas like the notch and corners. So the new line of iPhones aren't "all screen" as marketed, according to the 55-page complaint. For example, iPhone X's screen size is supposed to be 5.8 inches, but the plaintiffs measured that it's "only about 5.6875 inches." The plaintiffs also allege that the iPhone X series phones have lower screen resolution than advertised. iPhone X is supposed to have a resolution of 2436x1125 pixels, but the product doesn't contain true pixels with red, green and blue subpixels in each pixel, according to the complaint. iPhone X allegedly only has two subpixels per pixel, which is less than advertised, the complaint said. The lawsuit also alleges iPhone 8 Plus has a higher-quality screen than iPhone X.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • The Last Independent Mobile OS
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: The year was 2010 and the future of mobile computing was looking bright. The iPhone was barely three years old, Google's Android had yet to swallow the smartphone market whole, and half a dozen alternative mobile operating systems -- many of which were devoutly open source -- were preparing for launch. Eight years on, you probably haven't even heard of most of these alternative mobile operating systems, much less use them. Today, Android and iOS dominate the global smartphone market and account for 99.9 percent of mobile operating systems. Even Microsoft and Blackberry, longtime players in the mobile space with massive revenue streams, have all but left the space. Then there's Jolla, the small Finnish tech company behind Sailfish OS, which it bills as the "last independent alternative mobile operating system." Jolla has had to walk itself back from the edge of destruction several times over the course of its seven year existence, and each time it has emerged battered, but more determined than ever to carve out a spot in the world for a truly independent, open source mobile operating system.   Jolla's Sailfish OS rose from the ashes of Nokia and Intel's ill-fated collaboration, MeeGo. The MeeGo project launched in 2010 in an attempt to merge Intel's Linux-based Moblin OS and Nokia's Maemo software platform into a single open-source mobile operating system that could take on Google. By 2011, Android had already surpassed Nokia in the smartphone market, a fact that wasn't lost on Nokia's CEO Stephen Elop, who in a memo described the company as standing on a "burning platform." Nokia only ever released one phone running MeeGo: the Nokia N9, which ended up being well received despite its limited release. But it was too little, too late. By 2011, Nokia was bleeding talent and it was clear that MeeGo wasn't going to keep the company competitive in the rapidly changing smartphone market. In a last-ditch effort, Nokia struck a partnership with Microsoft to provide the hardware for its next generation of Windows Phones, abandoning MeeGo entirely. The same couldn't be said for those developers who had worked on MeeGo and, before that, an open source mobile OS called Mer, based on Intel's Maemo system. In October 2011, three developers that had worked on Mer sent a message on a mailing list calling for the creation of a "MeeGo 2.0." At the same time, developer Sami Pienimaki and two others left Nokia to found their own company, which would use this new version of MeeGo as the basis for an open source mobile OS. And thus, Sailfish was born. In a cheeky homage to the "burning platform" memo, Pienimaki and his fellow defectors decided to name their company Jolla, a Finnish word connoting a small boat or life raft. Jolla has since turned to Russia and China, both of which were hungry for a secure alternative to Google-based systems. In late 2016, Sailfish OS achieved domestic certification in Russia for government and corporate us. Around the same time, Sailfish was also making moves in China. In early 2017, the Sailfish China Consortium gained the exclusive rights and license to develop a Chinese OS based on Sailfish.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Sean Parker Builds Beach-Access App To Atone For His Rule-Violating Wedding
    An anonymous reader quotes the Associated Press: A tech billionaire whose elaborate wedding in a redwood grove violated California rules has helped create a smartphone app that shows users a map of more than 1,500 spots where people can get to the coastline. The California Coastal Commission unveiled the YourCoast app at its meeting Thursday in Newport Beach. "This is an only in California story," Commission Chair Dayna Bochco said in a statement. "Where else could you find a tech mogul partnering with a regulator to help the public get to the beach?"   Sean Parker, co-founder of file-sharing service Napster, agreed to help make the educational tool after he built a large site resembling a movie set for his wedding in an ecologically sensitive area of Big Sur without proper permits. However, the commission determined the construction in a campground area wouldn't harm the environment and the wedding was allowed to proceed. Parker, a former president of Facebook, also paid $2.5 million in penalties, which helped fund hiking trails, field trips and other efforts to increase public access to the popular tourist area. It was a rare high-profile coastal violation case resolved with cooperation rather than a legal fight.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


The Register



  • We asked, you answered: The truth about software reliability
    It's not just about quality
    Research results Whether it's systems-level platforms and tools or full-blown business applications, you want the software your organisation depends on to run reliably and predictably. Our recent Reg survey, however, confirmed what most probably knew from experience, or could guess from press headlines – that software-related failures are far from uncommon.…





















  • If most punters are unlikely to pay more for 5G, why all the rush?
    5G is like 3G, except this time they mean it
    Analysis 5G is a technical and economical miracle that you cannot help but admire. Soon our streets will be drenched in high-speed connectivity as all kinds of far-out radio boffinry get commercialised, productised, and deployed for something useful. Many billions of pounds of other people's money will be spent here. But the mobile networks are haunted by an awkward economic reality: for all the 5G razzle-dazzle, most punters just won't pay more for it.…


  • The future is bright, the future is NVMe
    Its time has come
    Promo Technical work on the first spec for Non-Volatile Memory express (NVMe) began in 2009 with a first version released two years later. A decade on, NVMe’s time has come.…








  • Astroboffins spy a rare exoplanet evaporating before their eyes
    *Okay so it will be here for another billion years or so but it's shrinking faster than normal
    Somewhere in the Cancer constellation lies a mini-Neptune sized planet that is disappearing at rate faster than ever seen before, according to research published in Astronomy & Astrophysics on Thursday.…






  • Apple to splash $10bn raisin' American bit barns
    Cupertino pats own back for forking over dollars in home country
    Apple has said it will spend $10bn on data centres in the US over the next five years, and will set up a new $1bn campus in Texas.…



  • Telcos enlist Google, Amazon to help protect Europe's data from Big Tech
    Orange, DT's plan to take on firms that create 'competitive asymmetries'
    Comment Nothing sums up Europe's tech dilemma like the deep and meaningful partnership two of its biggest telcos touted this week. The CEOs of Orange (Stéphane Richard) and Deutsche Telekom (Timotheus Höttges) see more than €120bn a year flow through their combined cash tills. The two were on stage at Orange's innovation showcase in Paris to team up on AI, and they had a mission.…







  • Windows 10 can carry on slurping even when you're sure you yelled STOP!
    All your activity are belong to us
    Updated A feature introduced in the April 2018 Update of Windows 10 may have set off a privacy landmine within the bowels of Redmond as users have discovered that their data was still flowing into the intestines of the Windows giant, even with the thing apparently turned off.…




  • Oxford startup magics up metamaterials for next-gen charging
    It doesn't make you invisible, but it could make powerups less painful
    Imagine throwing your phone onto a car dashboard or table, knowing it'll power up. And imagine that tabletop or dashboard powering up several randomly aligned devices at once. Above an unassuming street in Oxford, engineers are ironing out the problems.…






Linux.com offline for now

Phoronix













  • 180+ Benchmarks On Debian GNU/Linux 9.6 Against Debian Buster Testing
    There is the release of Debian 10 "Buster" to look forward to (hopefully) next year for succeeding Debian 9 "Stretch" that debuted back in 2017. Curious about the current performance of Debian Buster, I ran 183 benchmarks on Debian 9.6 stable against the current Debian Buster Testing images for seeing how the performance compares.


  • DXVK 0.94 Released With New Optimizations, Game Fixes
    DXVK lead developer Philip Rebohle who is working under contract for Valve released a new version of this open-source layer for translating Direct3D 10/11 calls to Vulkan API for enhancing the experience for running Windows games on Linux...





  • DragonFly's HAMMER2 File-System Receiving Christmas Improvements
    With DragonFlyBSD 5.4 having been recently released, development is back onto full-swing in Git master. DragonFlyBSD/HAMMER2 lead developer Matthew Dillon has been landing HAMMER2 file-system improvements that he hopes to back-port to stable in the coming weeks...




  • FreeBSD ZFS vs. Linux EXT4/Btrfs RAID With Twenty SSDs
    With FreeBSD 12.0 running great on the Dell PowerEdge R7425 server with dual AMD EPYC 7601 processors, I couldn't resist using the twenty Samsung SSDs in that 2U server for running some fresh FreeBSD ZFS RAID benchmarks as well as some reference figures from Ubuntu Linux with the native Btrfs RAID capabilities and then using EXT4 atop MD-RAID.




  • A Look At The Clear Linux Performance Over The Course Of 2018
    With the end of the year quickly approaching, it's time for our annual look at how the Linux performance has evolved over the past year from graphics drivers to distributions. This year was a particularly volatile year for Linux performance due to Spectre and Meltdown mitigations, some of which have at least partially recovered thanks to continued optimizations landing in subsequent kernel releases. But on the plus side, new releases of Python, PHP, GCC 8, and other new software releases have helped out the performance. For kicking off our year-end benchmark comparisons, first up is a look at how Intel's performance-optimized Clear Linux distribution evolved this year.


  • AMD Adding STIBP "Always-On Preferred Mode" To Linux
    Initially during the Linux 4.20 kernel merge window with the STIBP addition for cross-hyperthread Spectre V2 mitigation it was turned on by default for all processes. But that turned out to have a sizable performance hit so the behavior was changed to only turn it on for processes under SECCOMP or when requested via the PRCTL interface. However, AMD is landing a patch that for select CPUs will have an always-on mode as evidently that's preferred for some AMD processors...










Engadget"Engadget RSS Feed"

  • Hyundai will sell a car that can be unlocked with a fingerprint
    Hyundai has unveiled a new car system that lets drivers unlock and start a vehicle using their fingerprints. The tech is built in to the door handle and ignition button of the new 2019 Santa Fe SUV, showcased at an auto show in China last week.

    Multiple owners will be able to register their encrypted fingerprint data for the same vehicle, according to the South Korean auto-maker. And, depending on the person using the car, it will then automatically adjust seat positions and the angle of the rearview mirrors. A future update could also allow the biometric system to add personalized temperature, humidity, and steering settings, Hyundai said. For now, the company is planing to limit the feature to China upon its launch in the first quarter of 2019.

    The fingerprint sensor uses human capacitance to pull off the trick, differentiating between the electricity levels in different parts of the finger to prevent hacking or faked fingerprints. Hyundai said the system -- which receives your encrypted fingerprint data from the touch sensor in the handle before unlocking the car -- has an error rate of 1 in 50,000 (that's the same figure touted by Apple for its Touch ID tech for iPhones, iPads, and select MacBooks).

    The Santa Fe's other tech includes a rear occupant alert system, which uses ultrasonic sensors to detect the movements of children in the back to avoid anyone being left behind. The car also comes equipped with Chinese internet giant Baidu's voice recognition system and a wireless phone charger.

    This isn't the first time fingerprints have been used to start cars, but the unlocking tech has never before been baked in to a vehicle's door handle. Tesla Model 3 owners are also already using their smartphone as a car key while the rest of the industry (including Hyundai) is busy building a virtual key standard that could popularize the tech. Elsewhere, Hertz recently brought biometric data to car rentals at Atlanta International Airport.


  • The Morning After: Amazon's Alexa adds security to its resume
    Good morning! As we feel our way through the haze that is a combination of corporate party and holiday-season prep, Monday kicks off with stories on Alexa's new security talents, a car coming in 2021 that we already drove, and expect Year In Review reports to start hitting Engadget later this week.





    Amazon's framework can arm your system with just your voice.




    Amazon has upgraded its voice assistant to work with security systems. You can arm or disarm them, specify certain modes (home, away and night) and simply check in. The functionality is available now in the US, with companies like Abode, ADT, Honeywell, Ring and Scout Alarm already using it.

    Security wise, you have to manually enable disarming by voice, and you can specify an Alexa-specific voice code instead of shouting your PIN code to everyone within earshot.






    A taste of Audi's electric sports car of the future.


    If an automaker unveils a concept car, the chances that anyone has the opportunity to set foot in that vehicle and drive it on the street within a year is slim to nil. But Audi went in a different direction and let Roberto Baldwin drive the all-electric Audi E-Tron GT concept car -- scheduled for arrival in 2021 -- less than a week after it was unveiled at the LA Auto Show. Here's how it handled.

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    It could be useful for tiny parts in robotics, medicine and beyond.
    MIT can shrink 3D objects down to nanoscale versions


    MIT researchers have devised a technique for making nanoscale versions of 3D objects using a wide variety of materials and shapes. The team ultimately reversed a process for imaging brain tissue, whittling a relatively large object down to a creation one thousandth its original size. The big question: Why? The researchers suspect this could initially be used for creating specialized optics for science, microscopes and even smartphones, but it could be tremendously useful for nano-sized parts in robots.




    The controversial executive was just 35.
    HQ Trivia and Vine co-founder Colin Kroll dies of apparent overdose


    Over the weekend, Colin Kroll, the co-founder of both HQ Trivia and Vine, died of an apparent drug overdose in Manhattan at the age of 34. Kroll will be remembered for creating Vine alongside Yusupov and Dom Hoffmann. While the service lasted four years after its 2013 debut, it became a cultural phenomenon and was purchased by Twitter for a reported $30 million. Kroll then went on to found mobile quiz game HQ Trivia.

    But wait, there's more... Recommended Reading: How technology is changing entertainment What we're watching: Best of 2018 California will require zero-emissions buses by 2040

    The Morning After is a new daily newsletter from Engadget designed to help you fight off FOMO. Who knows what you'll miss if you don't Subscribe.

    Craving even more? Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter.

    Have a suggestion on how we can improve The Morning After? Send us a note.


  • VW's I.D. EV will deliver a 300 mile range for the price of a Golf
    Volkswagen's Jürgen Stackmann has revealed a few key details about its mass-market I.D. electric car, including the range and how you'll buy one. It'll have a 550 km range by Europe's new WLTP method (345 miles), which equates to around 290 miles using more stringent EPA testing. The I.D. will also cost the same as "a modern Golf diesel," he said, which is between £19,000 and £25,000, ($24,000 to $32,000). According to previously said that the I.D. Buzz Cargo will come in short- and long-range versions with 48 and 111 kWh batteries respectively, offering 206 and 340 mile WPTA ranges. Ergo, it seems like the I.D. will come with the same battery options. (Renault's Zoe has a 41 kWh battery and offers similar range to the base Buzz.)
    The #VWID offers a #range of up to 550 km for the price of a modern Golf Diesel, and will come on the market as a 100% #emissionneutral #eCar. /JS pic.twitter.com/EUkefmTYGP
    — Jürgen Stackmann (@jstackmann) December 6, 2018
    You'll be able to order the first I.D. (rumored to be called Neo when it enters production), with a Tesla-like online ordering system. "VW customers will be able to choose between models, ranges, colors and specification packages with far fewer clicks," said Stackmann. "We want to think more like customers, and less like engineers."

    The I.D. will top out at 100 mph, chosen because EVs lose battery life very quickly at high speeds. VW also said the battery will be liquid cooled and rated to charge at up to 125 kW (Tesla's Superchargers max out at 150 kW, by comparison), allowing you to get 250 miles of range in just 30 minutes. Customers will get a robust 11 kW home charging option.

    Judging by the camouflaged version that's currently in testing, the production vehicle may look a lot like the sleek vehicle I first saw in 2016. That's because VW was well advanced in the design stages when it first unveiled the EV in Paris, the company told Top Gear. The ID will arrive in 2020 and be unveiled in 2019, so we'll no doubt hear a lot more details over the next year.

    Via: Clean Technica

    Source: Volkswagen (Twitter), Top Gear


  • Amazon declares war on loss-making 'CRaP'
    In its quest to cut costs and maximize profits, Amazon is reportedly looking to eliminate product quantities that it can't make money on. These goods, codenamed CRaP, are offerings that Amazon "Can't Realize a Profit" on, once you factor in shipping costs. Dash button, which was about avoiding bulk buying. After all, there's little point in a button that you can get a near-instant refill of your laundry detergent if you have to buy it by the gallon, rather than by the pint.

    Via: Gizmodo

    Source: WSJ


  • MIT can shrink 3D objects down to nanoscale versions
    It's difficult to create nanoscale 3D objects. The techniques either tend to be slow (such as stacking layers of 2D etchings) or are limited to specific materials and shapes. MIT researchers might have a better way -- they've devised a technique for making nanoscale versions of 3D objects using a wide variety of materials and shapes. The team ultimately reversed a process for imaging brain tissue, whittling a relatively large object down to a creation one thousandth its original size.

    The scientists' approach starts by creating a scaffold made of polyacrylate, an absorbent material you find in diapers. They then soak the structure in a solution of fluorescein molecules that attach to the scaffold when exposed to light -- creators can use lasers to place most any particle wherever they want, whether it's genetic material or metal nanoparticles. To shrink the structure down after that point, the team introduces an acid that blocks negative charges in the polyacrylate and forced it to shrink.

    There are limits to the existing technology. The resolution of the final product directly correlates to its size. An object that's 1 cubic millimeter can have a resolution of 50 nanometers, but you'll need to blow it up to 1 cubic centimeter to achieve a resolution of 500 nanometers.

    However, the potential is vast. The researchers suspect this could initially be used for creating specialized optics for science, microscopes and even smartphones, but it could be tremendously useful for nano-sized parts in robots. The main challenge at this point is scale. While the needed equipment is readily available in labs, it might be another matter entirely to mass-produce nanoscale parts.

    Source: MIT News


  • Intel and ESL extend their esports alliance with a $100 million deal
    Intel and ESL have been esports buddies for years, but they're deepening that commitment as 2018 winds to a close. The two have extended their partnership with a $100 million deal that will last through 2021. Intel will provide the computing power for both the gaming rigs and the servers behind the scenes, but it'll also use this as an opportunity to test up-and-coming technologies. Expect it to use tournaments as a sales pitch for 5G, then.

    The arrangement will add a new tournament to the mix and turn an Intel Extreme Masters event in China into its own stand-alone affair.

    ESL's Mark Cohen touted the deal to CNBC as proof that the esports field is growing up. Earlier deals tended to last for a year or two at most, Cohen said, but that's different now that there are "other big brands" and conventinonal entertainment companies involved. ESL can follow a strategy closer to traditional sports where it can strike long, high-profile deals that add legitimacy and give it room to grow.

    Of course, this is also a calculated bet on Intel's part. It's counting on esports blossoming enough that a deep investment now will pay off with more people buying Intel-based gaming PCs. And it has a better reason than usual to kick its support into overdrive: it's facing stiffer competition than ever from AMD's Ryzen processors. If it doesn't splurge on things like the ESL deal, it risks losing mindshare to gamers.

    Via: CNBC

    Source: ESL


  • Nio unveils lower-cost ES6 electric SUV
    Nio is already preparing to launch its second electric SUV mere months after releasing its first. The Chinese automaker has unveiled the ES6, a lower-priced SUV that will start at the equivalent of $52,000 -- a sizeable $14,000 less than the ES8. While Nio didn't outline all the differences, the new model won't exactly be a slouch. The starting model can reach 62MPH in a brisk 5.6 seconds, and should have a range of 255 miles on Europe's NEDC testing cycle thanks to a 70kWh battery (there's also an 84kWh option with a 298-mile range). Move up to the higher-end trims and you'll hit that 62MPH mark in 4.7 seconds, with ranges between 267 miles and 317 miles depending on your battery choice.

    Chinese drivers can pre-order the ES6 now ahead of deliveries in June 2019. At the same time, Nio added that it would make an 84kWh battery upgrade available for the ES8 sometime in the third quarter of 2019.

    There's no mention of whether or not Nio will sell the ES6 outside of China, although we wouldn't count on it in the near future. Nio's mainstream car business is still relatively small, with 9,726 ES8s reaching customers as of December 15th. For contrast, Tesla delivered 56,065 Model 3 cars just in the third quarter of 2018. However, a lower-priced machine like the ES6 could accelerate Nio's growth and increase the chances that you'll see its cars beyond Chinese roads.

    Via: Electrek

    Source: Nio


  • California will require zero-emissions buses by 2040
    California isn't just interested in taking fossil fuel cars off the streets -- it wants to clean up buses, too. The state's Air Resources Board has voted to require that all buses are emissions-free by 2040. The transition will start in earnest in 2029, when California will require that all new buses ditch fossil fuels. Transit agencies will have access to subsidies (plus funds from the state's settlement with VW over Dieselgate) to help soften the blow of upgrading their fleets.

    This is no mean feat when zero-emissions vehicles currently represent just 153 out of the 12,000 buses serving Californians. As with cars, proponents are betting that electric and hydrogen fuel cell buses will become capable enough and cost-effective enough to completely replace their conventional counterparts. The deadlines are meant partly to spur technological progress -- companies may not have much choice but to improve their buses if they want to remain relevant on state roads.

    Source: AP News, Autoblog


  • Senate report details Russia's online meddling in 2016 election
    The US Senate is about to receive a report detailing Russia's online manipulation attempts during and after the 2016 Presidential election, and it promises to shed new light on the subject... including a lack of evidence from the internet giants themselves. The research, conducted by both Oxford University and network analysis company Graphika, outlines some familiar strategies. The Russians "clearly sought to benefit" the Republicans, rallying support for Trump on social networks while trying to "confuse, distract and ultimately discourage" Trump's opponents. It also notes that Russia's digital influence plans started with Twitter, but quickly expanded to Instagram and YouTube -- Facebook actually came last. They also tried smaller social networks like Google+, Pinterest and Tumblr (owned by Engadget parent company Verizon) as well as email.

    The report unsurprisingly notes that internet companies had a "belated and uncoordinated" response to Russia's meddling campaign, in some cases pulling accounts, offering tools and launching war rooms well after the election was over. However, the investigators also blasted firms for providing incomplete or difficult-to-study data. Facebook gave the Senate info on some Russia-linked accounts and posts but not others, according to the report Twitter and YouTube, meanwhile, made it difficult to scrutinize their info -- for YouTube, the researchers had to hunt down links to videos on other sites to gauge the scope of the service's role.

    The Russians also made rookie mistakes that could have been used to spot their activities earlier, such as buying ads with rubles and leaving signatures in logs that pointed to a Russian base of operations.

    The Senate report should be public within the next several days. While the findings aren't completely shocking, they could be influential as politicians consider how to study the 2018 midterms and prepare for 2020. They also suggest that attitudes toward social networks need to change if they haven't already. Where these sites were previously seen as forces for good, they're increasingly being exploited as a "computational tool for social control" both in democracies and autocracies.

    Source: Washington Post


  • Driving Audi’s beautiful E-Tron GT concept car

    If an automaker unveils a concept car, the chances that anyone has the opportunity to set foot in that vehicle and drive it on the street within a year is slim to nil. If it's a design study don't expect to see anyone ever drive it. If it's a concept of a production car; maybe, maybe a few months after the introduction journalists will get some seat time. But Audi went in a different direction and let me drive the all-electric Audi E-Tron GT concept car that'll launch in 2021 less than a week after it was unveiled at the LA Auto Show.

    The all-wheel-drive (AWD) E-Tron GT has (or will have) 590 horsepower and do zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds. During my time behind the wheel, I never even got close to experiencing the full force of the dual motors blasting me silently forward.

    Instead, I had a chance to leisurely drive around downtown Los Angeles with a police escort. Turns out, it was one-of-a-kind and a fender bender would have been disastrous. Plus, potholes were also an issue. The car's low profile was great for show-floor photographs. Not so much the ruts peppering the streets of LA.

    Other than needing me to cautiously avoid road holes more than your typical car, the E-Tron GT was surprisingly close to being a final product. Audi said it's 95 percent done. Most of the major features worked. The transmission, the climate controls, the push button ignition on the wheel and the power seats all worked the same as they would in a production vehicle.



    Even the impressive recuperative braking system that uses the motors to slow the car down and replenish the brakes when the stopping force is below 0.3Gs worked. In a typical car, depressing the brakes immediately engages the brake calipers around the rotors. Audi's system delays that action and instead, the electric motors slow the vehicle down under certain conditions. On the E-Tron SUV, it's great and I suspect it'll be just as good on GT.

    But concept car drives are really just a tiny sample of the final product -- the equivalent of licking a spoon covered in batter before enjoying the finished cake. It's a guilty pleasure and potential insight into the final product, but little else. Hopefully, we'll be able to get back behind the wheel when (if) the car goes into production and test out all that EV power on the open road without worrying about potholes.


  • CBS launches streaming-only news service for New York City
    CBS is acting on its promise to add a local flavor to its streaming news service. The broadcaster has launched CBSN New York, its first major local streaming service. The internet-only channel promises around-the-clock coverage of NYC's goings on, with CBS 2 and WLNY 10/55 providing both their usual live news broadcasts as well as hour-long live shows just for CBSN. It'll also provide continuous coverage of any breaking events as well as on-demand streams.

    The service will be ad-supported, CBS added.

    The media giant is still on track to offer a matching CBSN service in Los Angeles in early 2019, and expects more local services in other large markets where it has a footprint. While there's no certainty that CBSN will become as ubiquitous as conventional local news networks, there's certainly some similarity in strategy here. This is mostly local news as you know it, just for people who can't always watch (or don't bother with) regular TV.

    Source: CBS Corporation


  • The best wireless powered bookshelf speakers
    By Brent Butterworth

    This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and Engadget may earn affiliate commission. Read the full bookshelf speakers guide here.

    The best wireless bookshelf speaker system we've found priced under $800 is the Edifier S1000DB. With built-in Bluetooth and both analog and digital inputs, this active speaker pair connects to smartphones, computers, and TVs, and lets you easily create a stereo system without a separate amplifier or receiver. The SB1000DB doesn't include Wi-Fi audio streaming or a phono input for a turntable, but those features are easy to add (and if you're a vinyl enthusiast, we have a turntable-ready pick for you too).

    Our panelists picked the Edifier S1000DB as the best sounding of all the powered, wireless bookshelf speaker systems we tested, and yet it was far from the most expensive. It's the only system we found that had respectable deep-bass response, due in part to its larger 5.5-inch woofers, and it has tone controls for fine-tuning the sound. It includes a nice remote control and both analog and digital inputs, but there's no built-in Wi-Fi or phono input. The speakers are nicely crafted, but they may be a bit large for some spaces, and their styling is straight out of the 1990s.

    Even though the Audioengine HD3 speakers measure only 7 inches high, they put out a surprisingly full sound that won over our panelists. They can't pump out low bass, but they don't sound thin, either—and the inclusion of an analog output gives the option to add a subwoofer. The HD3 system's small size makes it ideal for offices and bedrooms, and it offers a rich feature set, including aptX HD Bluetooth, a USB digital input, and a front headphone output.

    The Klipsch R-51PM is a great choice for vinyl record enthusiasts because it includes a phono input, so you can easily connect most record players without having to buy a separate preamp. The addition of USB and optical digital inputs, a subwoofer output, and a nice remote control gives the system excellent versatility, but it comes at a higher cost. The audio performance isn't quite as good as that of our top pick, but the 5.25-inch woofer in each speaker does allow the system to produce a reasonable amount of bass. We also like its styling, a modern update of Klipsch's classic horn design.
    Why you should trust us
    I've been reviewing audio gear professionally since 1990, currently as an editor for the SoundStage Network and previously as an editor or writer for Sound & Vision, Home Theater Review, Home Theater Magazine, and numerous other publications. In that time, I've conducted and published more blind tests of audio products than any other journalist in the world. Over the past 28 years, I've tested and measured countless traditional stereo speakers and have evaluated more than 300 wireless speakers.

    Three additional listeners helped me on this guide; all have served as panelists on many of my tests for Wirecutter and Sound & Vision: Lauren Dragan, Wirecutter's headphone editor; Geoffrey Morrison, Wirecutter editor at large and columnist for CNET and Forbes.com; and John Higgins, a professional musician and composer who has also written for Wirecutter and Home Theater Magazine.
    Who should get this
    Wireless powered bookshelf speakers are for those who want the convenience of all-in-one Bluetooth or Wi-Fi speakers, with the sound quality of a traditional stereo system. Also called active speakers, these speaker systems have built-in amplifiers and wireless receivers, so all you need to add is a source device, such as a smartphone, a computer, a TV, or a record player. In general, these systems sound better than all-in-one speakers because the two speakers can be spread apart to create an enveloping, natural stereo effect—and because many are large enough to accommodate larger woofers that produce deeper, more powerful bass.

    When done right, these systems can actually sound better than comparably priced traditional stereo bookshelf systems. Because the speakers are designed and built as a system, all of the components are chosen to work together to deliver the best sound. Most of them have digital signal processors that permit the design engineers to tune them much more precisely than traditional analog audio circuitry allows. That digital processing includes a limiter that, if properly configured by the design engineers, prevents the speaker from being played loud enough to the point where it sounds bad or might suffer damage.

    The design of these speakers varies, but most have a separate woofer (for bass) and tweeter (for treble) in each speaker; this design is generally considered to deliver the best possible sound from a small speaker. The electronics and amplification are built into one of the speakers (which needs to be plugged into a power outlet), and a standard speaker cable connects that speaker to the other one—so it's not a truly wireless setup.

    All of the wireless stereo speaker systems we've found incorporate Bluetooth, and some incorporate Wi-Fi, in the form of Apple AirPlay, DTS Play-Fi, or Google Chromecast. All have at least one analog audio input; many also offer digital inputs, and some include an input for a record player. (Any speaker system with an analog input can be used with a record player, as long as the record player has a built-in phono preamp (as most of our turntable picks do), or an outboard phono preamp is added.) Most have controls for only volume and input, although a few of the models we found have tone controls, and some include remote controls. Some have an output for a subwoofer, which is important if you want lots of bass; adding a subwoofer to a system without a subwoofer output is impractical or impossible.

    For most listeners, the only disadvantage of these systems is that they include two separate speakers that are connected with a wire, so they're not as tidy or unobtrusive as all-in-one speakers. For audio enthusiasts, a potential disadvantage is that the system can't be expanded or upgraded by, for example, substituting in a more powerful amplifier.
    How we picked
    Here you can see how the sizes of the individual speakers compare. From left: the Edifier S1000DB, Klipsch R-51PM, and Audioengine HD3. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald
    Going into this article, I'd already heard many of these systems (or at least prototype versions of them) at various audio shows, including CES and Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. We decided to include only speakers that offer at least Bluetooth connectivity, although several of them also include Wi-Fi and/or an input for a record player. After I searched Amazon, Best Buy, Crutchfield, and other sites, I put together a list of the various models available. We set a price range of $250 to $800; if you're interested in a less-expensive option, check out our best computer speakers guide.

    I contacted manufacturers to request testing samples, and to make sure the models on my list were all current. We ended up with 10 models, including the brands Audioengine, Edifier, Kanto, Klipsch, SVS, and Vanatoo.
    How we tested
    Upon receiving the systems, I broke them in by playing at least 10 hours of music through each one at a moderately loud volume. I then gave each system a long listen to make sure none were obviously poor performers that wouldn't stand a chance of being chosen by our blind listening panel. For these sessions, I used music streamed from my Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphone. I also used my Music Hall Ikura turntable, which is equipped with an Ortofon Blue moving-magnet cartridge, to connect to systems that had phono inputs.

    For our blind testing sessions, I used the speakers' analog inputs fed by my custom-built audio testing switcher, and I let the panelists use their smartphones as their music source, so they could play any tunes they wanted. I placed the speakers at equal heights on stands I built specifically for blind speaker testing, and I draped a thin piece of black fabric in front of the speakers so that the panelists couldn't see which ones were playing.

    All speakers were played at matched levels, which I did by feeding the Dolby test noise recorded from a Denon receiver through all the systems and measuring the levels using an NTi Minilyzer audio analyzer and Mini SPL measurement microphone set for flat response (i.e., no A- or C-weighting) because the shaped noise from the Dolby test noise provided the optimal weighting.

    After I had the panelists' initial results, I offered to let them listen again to any of the speakers we'd tested and compare them with any other models. I then revealed the identities of the speakers and solicited the panelists' comments about each system's design and features.

    Note that we didn't give extra points for fancier Bluetooth technologies, such as the aptX and AAC codecs, although we will point out below which ones each product includes. In the online Bluetooth blind test you can find on my website, it's pretty clear that the differences among these technologies are subtle. The differences between speakers, however, are not subtle.
    Our pick: Edifier S1000DB
    Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald
    The Edifier S1000DB is just what a wireless bookshelf speaker system should be. It starts with good-quality, well-tuned speakers, then adds amplification, Bluetooth, and other convenient features and connection options. Three of our four panelists picked it as their favorite of all the larger models we evaluated in our blind tests. At 13.3 inches high, 11.5 inches deep, and 7.9 inches wide, the S1000DB speakers are fairly large, which is surely part of the reason they sound good, but it may make them too large for desktops and some bookshelves.

    The speaker on the right contains the amplifiers, inputs, and other electronics. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald
    The S1000DB is the only system in our test that our panelists thought had respectable deep-bass response, and the quality of the bass was generally good—it didn't boom the way some small speakers do when trying to play deep-bass notes. Although none of our panelists raved about the sound, none of them noticed any real problems. Geoff summed it up when he said, "It didn't really excel in any way, but it sounded best on average with all the tracks I listened to."

    The speaker cable that connects the two Edifier speakers uses a proprietary connector, but the cable is 16 feet long, so it's unlikely you'd need a longer one. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald
    The S1000DB has a pretty nice feature set, with aptX Bluetooth, two stereo analog inputs, optical and coaxial digital inputs, and bass and treble controls. The cable between the two speakers runs 16 feet, the longest of all the non-Edifier models we tested. A sleek little remote control lets you adjust volume and select the input. A removable grille (which we didn't show here) protects the woofers and tweeters from prying fingers.

    Bass and treble tone controls make it easy to fine-tune the S1000DB's sound. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald
    However, the S1000DB lacks some features found on competing models. There's no practical way to connect it to a subwoofer, and it doesn't include phono inputs or Wi-Fi. You can add those features by connecting external devices, such as a phono preamp, an Echo Dot, or a Google Chromecast Audio dongle, but that adds cost and complexity.

    The Edifier speakers come with a basic but sleek remote that allows for volume and input adjustment. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald
    These speakers are beautifully crafted, with real wood sides. That said, their styling is reminiscent of typical high-end speakers from the 1990s—it's not what we'd call cool or contemporary. Because they have rear bass ports, they can't be pushed tight against a wall, because blocking the ports will reduce the bass.

    No major audio publications seem to have reviewed the S1000DB, but The Test Pit raved about them, saying, "All that real estate is well used and the resulting sound is clean and beyond powerful." Audio Rumble agrees, stating, "These are definitely among the most capable bookshelf speakers you can get for less than $500 at the moment." In 186 Amazon user reviews to date, the S1000DB has earned an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars, although the Fakespot grade is a C.
    Also great: Audioengine HD3
    Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald
    The Audioengine HD3 is a totally different kind of speaker system from our top pick. At 7 inches high, 5.5 inches deep, and 4.25 inches wide, each of the HD3 speakers is only about one-seventh the size of one of the Edifier S1000DB speakers. They produce a surprisingly full and balanced sound for such small speakers, but they don't have the deep-bass response of our main pick. The HD3 system also has lots of great features, including a USB input, a headphone output, and an analog output to connect a subwoofer.

    Among the smaller speakers we tested, Lauren and John ranked the HD3 system first, and Geoff ranked it second—and this system was Lauren's favorite of all the speakers we tested. "This would be my pick for most people," she said, and that was before she saw how compact the HD3 system is. With "woofers" measuring just 2.75 inches, the HD3 system can't put out any real bass, but it's tuned so that its lack of bass doesn't leave it sounding thin. It also doesn't play super-loud; I found myself turning it up all the way most of the time I used it. But with sound that's loud enough to fill a bedroom or an office, and a design compact enough to fit on any desktop, the HD3 is an ideal choice for many situations.

    All the electronics and inputs are on the right speaker. A removable grille, shown on the right speaker, protects the woofer and tweeter from damage. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald
    Two analog inputs are included, and there's also a USB digital input for use with computers and smartphones (but no optical or coaxial digital input). An analog output makes it easy to connect most subwoofers, such as those featured in our guide to the best budget subwoofer, and a bass reduction switch makes it easier to blend the HD3 speakers with the subwoofer (and also allows the HD3s to play louder when used with a sub). There's also a front headphone jack, which is very convenient for desktop use. There's no phono input or Wi-Fi capability, but these features can be added through the use of outboard accessories.

    The HD3 uses standard speaker-cable binding posts, so you can swap the stock cable that connects the two speakers with a longer one. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald
    The HD3 includes aptX HD, which is the only upgraded version of Bluetooth I've found that offers a significant performance improvement over the standard SBC Bluetooth codec. (Note that only a few Android smartphones are currently compatible with aptX HD, and that no Apple products are compatible with any variant of aptX.) It also includes AAC, a codec used by Apple iTunes and some streaming services; Apple phones and tablets are compatible with AAC, so this feature could deliver a slight improvement in sound quality for Apple fans.

    The front panel of the right speaker includes a handy ⅛-inch (3.5 mm) headphone jack. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald
    The HD3 has received numerous professional reviews, including one in which PCMag's Tim Gideon said the HD3 "allows for an ideal combination of high-quality Bluetooth streaming and wired playback at a reasonable price," and another where Jack Roberts, from the high-end audio site Dagogo.com, called them "the best desktop speakers I have ever heard." Amazon user reviews average only 3.9 stars out of 5 stars (with a Fakespot grade of A), but most of the unsatisfied reviewers seem to have somewhat unrealistic expectations of what such small speakers can do. We also read complaints about the first couple of seconds of audio selections being cut off when the USB input is used, but we couldn't replicate this effect; perhaps a firmware update has fixed the problem, as this system has been out for about a year and half.

    The Bass switch filters out audio frequencies below 100 Hz, allowing the HD3 system to blend smoothly with a subwoofer. Photo: Kyle FitzgeraldAlso great: Klipsch R-51PM
    Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald
    Klipsch's R-51PM is the most versatile choice of all our picks because it includes a phono input for connecting to a turntable, plus USB, optical digital, and analog inputs and a subwoofer output—but that versatility comes with a higher price. Our panelists ranked the R-51PM just slightly behind the Edifier S1000DB in sound quality. Everyone agreed it had a reasonably full and natural sound, but all said they'd prefer a little more bass. At 13.3 inches high by 9.1 inches deep by 7 inches wide, the R-51PM speakers aren't quite as bulky as our top pick, and they have a more contemporary look.

    The left speaker holds the electronics, the inputs, and the power indicator. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald
    While many inexpensive turntables have a phono preamp or Bluetooth built in and thus don't need a dedicated phono input, anyone wanting to use a higher-quality turntable or an older turntable will need a phono input—so its inclusion on the R-51PM makes for a clean, easy setup. Any of our picks can be adapted for use with these turntables through the addition of an outboard phono preamp, but that's more money to spend, plus an extra set of cables to connect, plus an extra power supply.

    The only control offered on the R-51PM system is volume. Standard speaker-cable connectors are used, so you can sub in a longer cable if you need it. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald
    In addition to Bluetooth and the phono input, the R-51PM has other nice connection options, including USB and optical digital audio inputs, plus an extra 3.5 mm analog input. Thus, it'll connect easily to computers and TVs and to a Chromecast Audio dongle, so it can serve as a complete audio system. It's especially suitable for use with a TV because the manual provides codes for programming remotes from DirecTV and RCA satellite receivers and AT&T, Bright House, and Xfinity cable boxes to control the R-51PM's volume and mute functions. There's also a removable grille (not shown here) to protect the woofers and tweeters.

    The Line/Phono switch sets the red and white RCA jacks to the right to work with a turntable output or a standard line audio source. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald
    As I said above, the R-51PM produces a reasonably full and natural sound, but all of our panelists would've preferred a little more bass. This system does have a defeatable dynamic bass control that boosts the bass at low volumes, but it didn't seem to help, especially considering we did most of our testing at moderately loud levels. However, the inclusion of a subwoofer output does allow you to add your own subwoofer, and the R-51PM's remote control includes subwoofer output-level controls, so you can fine-tune the bass level without adjusting your subwoofer's controls.

    The Klipsch system comes with a nice remote that includes subwoofer output-level controls, so you can fine-tune the bass level without having to make adjustments on the subwoofer itself (if you add one). Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald
    While the R-51PM speakers aren't quite as bulky as the Edifier S1000DB speakers, they also have rear bass ports, which means they can't be backed up tight against a wall without affecting the sound quality. Klipsch also offers a smaller model with the same inputs and features, the R-41PM, but no samples were available at the time we did the tests for this article.

    The R-51PM system was brand-new at the time of this writing, so we couldn't find any professional reviews of it. The one Amazon review we saw is from someone who seemed to have not read the owner's manual.
    What to look forward to
    There are a few systems in this category that we weren't able to get in time for this article. The Kanto Tuk is a higher-end version of the Kanto YU6 tested here, with aptX HD and higher-quality woofers and tweeters. The JBL Control XStream includes Wi-Fi capability with Spotify Connect and Chromecast (in addition to Bluetooth) and a splash-proof design. The Totem Acoustic Kin Play includes Bluetooth plus a phono input, although it looks as if it will exceed our price cap for this article. The Vanatoo Transparent One Encore brings the concepts of the Transparent Zero tested here into a more conventional, box-shaped speaker.
    The competition
    The Audioengine HD6 is a larger version of the HD3, one of our top picks, but only one of our panelists liked the sound.

    The Klipsch R-41PM is a smaller version of the R-51PM, with the same inputs and features. Samples were not available at the time we did the tests for this article.

    The Edifier AirPulse A100 sounds a little better than our top pick, with somewhat clearer treble, and it looks nicer, but it's more than twice as costly—and we don't think the performance improvements merit that big of a price increase.

    The Edifier S2000pro is similar to our top pick, but it adds professional-style XLR balanced inputs and has a different tweeter. I thought its treble didn't sound as smooth as the S1000DB's.

    The Kanto YU4 has a cool design, a phono input, and a reasonable price, but only one of our panelists really liked its sound. A larger version, the Kanto YU6, won over two of our panelists, but the other two weren't impressed.

    We hoped to test the Peachtree Audio M25, but the company says it will be discontinued early in 2019.

    The SVS Prime Wireless is a new system with DTS Play-Fi Wi-Fi–based audio, in addition to Bluetooth and a subwoofer output; I liked it, but the rest of our panelists felt it needed more bass.

    The Vanatoo Transparent Zero is an unusual trapezoidal design with passive radiators to reinforce the bass. It's a well-tuned speaker, but our panelists preferred the similarly sized and priced Audioengine HD3.

    This guide may have been updated by Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

    When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and Engadget may earn affiliate commissions.


  • HQ Trivia and Vine co-founder Colin Kroll dies of apparent overdose
    One of the mobile app world's more influential and controversial executives has passed away. TMZ has learned that Colin Kroll, the co-founder of both HQ Trivia and Vine, has died of an apparent drug overdose in Manhattan at the age of 34. Kroll had been the CEO of the company for just three months following a change in role for fellow founder Rus Yusupov, and it's not clear what will happen next for the startup. HQ Trivia isn't commenting at this stage.

    Kroll is most often remembered for creating Vine along with Yusupov and Dom Hoffmann. While it was only available for four years after its 2013 debut, it became a cultural phenomenon with its own stars and breakout moments. However, his time in the years since has been marked by controversy. Twitter ousted him 18 months after acquiring Vine, reportedly for bad management. Recode noted that women at Vine also accused him of "creepy" and "womanizing" behavior. While women didn't file complaints, the assertions were enough to spook some would-be HQ Trivia investors looking into Kroll's background.

    It's not certain how the loss will affect HQ Trivia. It comes right as the firm is expanding beyond its game show roots, though, and may influence the company's strategy going forward. The tragedy might also draw more attention to the personal conduct of tech executives both inside and outside of work.
    So sad to hear about the passing of my friend and co-founder Colin Kroll. My thoughts & prayers go out to his loved ones. I will forever remember him for his kind soul and big heart. He made the world and internet a better place. Rest in peace, brother.
    — Rus (@rus) December 16, 2018
    Source: TMZ, Rus Yusupov (Twitter)


  • Rocket Lab launches NASA's first dedicated cubesat mission
    Rocket Lab isn't quite done establishing firsts. The company has successfully launched ElaNa-19 (Educational Launch of Nanosatellites), NASA's first cubesat mission to get a dedicated ride to space. Until now, the agency's tiny satellites have piggybacked on missions carrying larger payloads. It's also the first Venture Class Launch Services mission for the company, and the first time Rocket Lab has conducted two launches that are relatively close together. Its initial commercial flight, "It's Business Time," lifted off five weeks ago.

    This represents Rocket Lab's third (and last) orbital flight of 2018, although it will get a quick start to the new year with another Electron rocket "on the pad" in January 2019.

    You can likely expect this kind of mission frequency in the future. Rocket Lab aims to corner the market for small satellite deployments, and that means offering as many launch dates as possible at costs that are typically more affordable than hitching a ride on a larger vessel. If it achieves this, it could encourage greater use of cubesats and make space more accessible to companies and scientists alike.


    Source: Rocket Lab


  • After Math: Where are the adults
    It's been quite the week of tantrums by the man-babies who run some of the largest companies in the tech industry. While Elon Musk cried and stamped his feet through what should have been a softball 60 Minutes interview, Twitter head Jack Dorsey spent much of his week encouraging everybody to visit sunny, genocidal Myanmar. And let's not even get started on what have become Mark Zuckerberg's weekly Facebook fiascos. Still, it's nice to see that at least some online institutions still have grownups behind the wheel.



    10,000-plus dead, 700,000-plus fled: We'll likely never know the full extent of the devastation wrought by the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar, which has been raging since August, 2017, but damned if that's going to stop Twitter CEO and Silicon Valley caricature Jack Dorsey from spending 12 silent days there before promoting the military junta-led Asian nation as a tourist destination.



    1,600 affordable units: It's nigh on impossible to find an affordable home in Mountain View due to both the exorbitant salaries commanded by techies and the city's refusal to build high-density infill housing. This, unfortunately, means it's up to tech companies themselves to jumpstart a solution. That's why it's so heartening to learn that Google plans to make 20 percent of the 8,000 residential units it wants to build as part of its proposed Mountain View expansion, affordable to folks making $44,000 a year.



    $167 million: While he was't sobbing about how mean the SEC is to him, Tesla CEO Elon Musk mustered his legal team to sue ex-employee Martin Tripp for nine figures. At least he didn't call Tripp a pedo as well.



    $67 million: For a hundred million less than what Tesla is suing for, the FCC announced this week that it will provide additional funding to support rural broadband providers, which in turn bring the internet to 100,000 additional American homes every year.



    15 Senate Democrats: That's who is pushing for the adoption of the Data Care Act, which would mandate websites protect personal user data much in the same way that your doctor and lawyer already have to do. There's no guarantee that this bill will ever make it out of committee (given that the Senate is still saddled with a GOP majority) but if the DCA doesn't work out, we may still see a GDPR-style bill early next year.



    58 million videos: YouTube is once again stepping up its enforcement efforts. The company announced this week that it had removed nearly 60 million videos, 1.7 million channels, and 224 million comments from its service for violating the Terms of Service.



    6.8 million users impacted: So, for most of September, if you uploaded a photo to Facebook but thought better of it and cancelled the upload, FB would still keep a copy of that photo -- and then make it available to more than 1,500 3rd party apps.


  • Windows 10 may offer deeper support for AI helpers like Alexa
    While you can use voice assistants like Alexa on Windows 10, they still play second fiddle to Cortana. You can't just talk to your computer -- you have to either click a button or use a keyboard shortcut. Thankfully, Microsoft might be a little more egalitarian in the future. Albacore, WalkingCat and others have discovered that Windows 10 test releases may offer deeper support for third-party voice assistants. You could activate apps with a hotword (including when your PC is locked), and possibly "replace" Cortana on a system level. In one test, Microsoft also separated the search text box and the "talk to Cortana" feature on the taskbar.

    There's no guarantee that you'll issue Alexa voice commands to your PC from across the room, at least not any time soon. We also wouldn't assume that Google would leap on this given its historical animosity to Microsoft.

    A change like this would make sense, however. Microsoft has been warming up to Alexa and Amazon as a whole as it shifts Cortana from direct competition with other voice assistants to a behind-the-scenes technology. This could represent the next logical step, giving you the option of ditching Cortana for all intents and purposes. The company just needs another incentive for you to use Windows 10, even if that means shoving its AI aside in favor of a more popular option.

    Via: Liliputing, MSPowerUser, Tom's Hardware

    Source: Albacore (Twitter), WalkingCat (Twitter), M. Reinders (Twitter)


  • Alexa can control your home security system
    It's now decidedly easier to control your home security system if you have an Echo speaker or another Alexa-powered gadget. Amazon has enabled a Security Panel Controller framework that lets you control security systems with your voice. You can arm or disarm them, specify certain modes (home, away and night) and simply check in. And yes, Amazon is well aware of the security implications. You have to manually enable disarming by voice, and you can specify an Alexa-specific voice code instead of shouting your PIN code to everyone within earshot.

    The functionality is available now in the US, and companies like Abode, ADT, Honeywell, Ring and Scout Alarm are already using it. It's understandable why you might hesitate to use Alexa support, especially if you're concerned that someone might listen in. Amazon is clearly betting that its own security measures (including user-specific voice recognition) are enough, though, and this could be convenient you'd rather not pull out your phone or walk across the house just to punch in a code.

    Via: ZDNet

    Source: Alexa Blogs


  • Switch-only 'Netflix for comics' launches December 17th
    You might not turn to your game console to read comics, but InkyPen is determined to change that. It's launching a comic subscription on December 17th that's arriving first for the Nintendo Switch. It will offer "thousands" of indie comics and webcomics (and eventually manga) on the hybrid console for a $8 flat rate (€8 in Europe). The initial service is focused on English readers, but "almost all" of the catalog is available worldwide.

    InkyPen is planning to support other platforms in the future, although it didn't name them.

    This isn't going to compete with the likes of Comixology in terms of scale, but it's not currently aiming at people who insist on mainstream material. Also, the Switch debut helps it stand out from the pack. A 6.2-inch screen might not be as ideal for on-the-go reading as a typical mobile tablet, but InkyPen could appeal to kids who don't have another mobile device -- not to mention anyone who wants to read a few indie comics in between InkyPen Comics (Twitter)

    Source: InkyPen


  • Tesla puts more cars on sale to maximize $7,500 EV tax credit
    Tesla really, really wants to be sure buyers can make the most of the full $7,500 EV tax credit before it's cut in halffor the company in 2019. Elon Musk has announced that the automaker is now selling "all" cars where the original customer can't take delivery before the end of 2018. If you're quick on the draw, you could get the full credit even if you're placing an order for the first time.

    It isn't unheard of for Tesla to put more cars on sale when it wants to goose its delivery numbers, especially toward the end of the year. However, this might be more important than usual. This is Tesla's last, best chance to wring the most out of the full tax credit. Sales won't necessarily drop once the credit shrinks, but the company likely doesn't want to lose would-be buyers who might shy away when there's a smaller discount.
    In other words, you may be able to get a Tesla before the $7500 US tax credit drops in 2 weeks, even if you haven't placed an order yet
    — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 15, 2018
    Source: Elon Musk (Twitter 1), (2)


  • Tesla's utility-sized Megapack battery may debut in California
    Tesla chief Elon Musk once dropped a hint about a "large product on the stationary storage side" in an interview, and some clues found online showed that the company is calling that product the "Megapack." Now, Powerpack. And it makes sense, because each Megapack battery system will apparently measure 23'5" x 5'3" and will have a capacity of around 2,673 kWh.

    That's much, much bigger than the Powerpack, which has a length and width measuring 51.5" x 32.4" and has an energy capacity of 210 kWh. The illustrations in the documents show that Tesla plans to install two container-sized Megapack units back-to-back. It also plans to deploy 449 Megapacks with a total capacity of 1,200 MWh at the PG&E site in California.



    The energy company apparently wants to switch the site on by 2020, so Tesla might start installing units soon.

    Image: Electrek

    Source: Electrek


  • Governments reach deal to implement Paris climate change agreement
    Politicians signed the Paris climate agreement back in 2015, but they've finally laid the groundwork for acting on that agreement. Governments have developed guidelines, known as the Katowice Climate Package, that will determine how they implement emissions reductions starting in 2020. It establishes how nations will set targets, measure technological progress, verify effectiveness and otherwise translate the agreement's goals into reality.

    There were concerns that talks might fall apart, but officials saved the deal by punting a dispute with Brazil over carbon credit monitoring. Most of the discussions around that subject will take place in 2019.

    The pact will ideally keep the global average temperature increase to significantly less than 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels. It's not certain this is enough, though. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently published a report indicating that global warming is worse than thought, and would require "unprecedented changes" to keep the temperature in check. However much the Paris and Katowice deals might do to reduce emissions, they're based on an older understanding of the situation.

    As usual, there's also the question of those countries that refuse to play along. President Trump's intent to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement could hurt the strategy's effectiveness, even with cities and states vowing to honor the arrangement. Other countries that depend heavily on fossil fuel sales, such as Kuwait, Russia and Saudi Arabia, have also given the cold shoulder to the UN climate report. If the Paris participants achieve their targets, it'll be in spite of some prominent opposition.

    Via: Reuters

    Source: United Nations Climate Change


  • Valve updates 'Dota' card game with open tournaments and chat options
    Valve has delivered the first large upgrade to 1.1 update adds short Open Tournaments that anyone can join. You don't have to chat up players or advertise them on social networks -- you just have to hop in and wait for Valve to pair you with an opponent. There's also a Free-for-All tourney mode that asks you to play as many people you can within three hours, awarding the win to whoever wins the most games in that time span.

    The games themselves should be more social, as well. You can deliver voice lines from every creep and hero through a chat wheel, and you can request Steam Chats either during or immediately after a card battle. You can mute the chat wheel if someone is constantly spamming the same line.

    Other additions? There's a new colorblind mode that makes cards more distinguishable. A Bot Gauntlet mode pits you against AI players with increasingly tougher decks. If you want to roll the dice, there's a random mode that will give you a fresh Call to Arms deck every time you queue up for a match. And if you're eager to crow about your achievements, there are Call to Arms leaderboards that give you a chance to improve your standing every two weeks.

    This won't necessarily pull you away from the likes of noted that there have been 8.2 million matches since the November 28th debut, and the typical player has hopped in for nine hours. The challenge now is to keep gamers interested after their initial curiosity runs out.

    Source: Artifact, Twitter


  • Hyundai Kona EV could cost you less than $30,000
    Turns out Hyundai's Kona EV is one of the most affordable electric vehicles you'll be able to buy in the near future. The automaker has revealed that the electric version of its Kona model has a starting price of $36,450 before federal tax incentives. If you can get the $7,500 maximum tax incentive, the crossover will only set you back $29,995 -- that's $28,950 in base price plus delivery. The Kona EV, Hyundai's first electric crossover for the US market, will be manufactured in Korea and will start shipping in California in early 2019. It will eventually make its way to western and northeastern states part of the zero emission vehicle program, though the automaker didn't announce a concrete timeline for them.

    Its direct competitor is perhaps the Chevy Bolt EV, which has a slightly higher starting price ($37,495). The Kona is even more powerful than the Bolt -- on paper, at least, since it's not out yet -- with its 201-horsepower, 290-pound-foot electric motor, compared to the latter's 200-horsepower, 266-pound-foot one. It can also travel 258 miles on a single charge, 20 miles farther (238 miles) than the Bolt can. In addition, the Kona's base price comes with DC fast charging capability, as well as heated seats and other features you can only get with the Bolt if you pay extra. Tesla is expected to release a $35,000 version of the Model 3, as well, but it will no longer offer tax incentives next year, since it has already sold over 200,000 vehicles.

    Via: CNET, Autoblog

    Source: Hyundai


  • Cydia's app store for jailbroken iPhones shuts down purchases (updated)
    For years, people with jailbroken iPhones have turned to the Cydia Store to download apps that Apple wouldn't allow through its own portal. You might want to scramble for an alternative if you're one of those users, however. Service creator Jay Freeman (aka Saurik) has shut down purchases in the Cydia Store citing a combination of costs and security issues. It "loses [him] money" and, when there were multiple staffers, cost him a significant chunk of his "sanity." And while Freeman had already planned to close store purchases by the end of 2018, he bumped it up a week after learning of a security hole that let let someone buy apps through your account if you were logged in and browsing untrusted app repositories.

    This doesn't mean you'll be without your existing apps. Repositories will still be available to download, Freeman said, even though the necessary bandwidth represents the "majority of [his] costs" for Cydia.

    The community will carry on -- the whole point of jailbreaking is that you're not beholden to any one developer or app portal. Nonetheless, it's easy to see this as symbolic of jailbreaking's decline. The option to run unsanctioned code was hot in the iPhone's early days, when iOS had many more limitations and a homebrew app could enable major features like third-party keyboards. There's simply less pressure to leave the official boundaries at this point, especially when Apple tends to be quicker about patching the security flaws that enable jailbreaks in the first place.

    Update 12/15 5:17PM ET: The article has been updated to clarify that this represents a purchasing shutdown.

    Via: AppleInsider

    Source: Reddit


  • Our favorite learning apps for tablets and smartphones
    By Courtney Schley

    This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and Engadget may earn affiliate commission. Read the full learning apps guide here.

    We spent over 25 hours researching and testing more than 35 educational and learning apps recommended by educators, experts, parents, and kids. We also studied research from child developmental psychologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics about children's app use and the pedagogical principles for creating learning apps. If your family has a tablet and you want it to be more than a game-playing and video-watching device, or if you're trying to find apps for your smartphone that will do more than keep your kids occupied in a pinch, we have some great suggestions.
    What are learning apps?
    Based on our research, we think a good learning app should be provocative, exploratory, and open-ended; it should also have been designed with primary input from educators and curriculum developers, or shown in educational research to be an effective learning tool. The apps we cover in this guide are great learning apps not because they're designed to make kids smarter, to drill facts, or to replace in-school learning, but because they're fun and interesting for kids and adults.

    Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a psychologist specializing in child development and learning, wrote in a 2015 article (PDF) that educational apps "present a significant opportunity for out-of-school, informal learning when designed in educationally appropriate ways," but that "only a handful ... are designed with an eye toward how children actually learn."

    Apps are still fairly uncharted territory for education, and it isn't clear what really helps preschool and early-elementary children learn, as opposed to simply entertaining them. In a similar situation to what we found when researching learning toys, developers and app stores often label apps as "educational" with little research or evidence, and few experts, to support those claims.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a broad report on children's use of digital media, calling for more-rigorous evaluation of apps that claim to be educational: "Unfortunately, very few of the commercially available apps found in the educational section of app stores have evidence-based design input with demonstrated learning effectiveness. In fact, recent reviews of hundreds of toddler/preschooler apps labeled as educational have demonstrated that most apps show low educational potential ... are not based on established curricula, and include almost no input from developmental specialists or educators."

    (Parents and educators looking for more advice about choosing whether to incorporate apps into kids' playtime should check out the resources we consulted for this guide, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, a nonprofit research group focusing on education and new media.)
    How we picked and tested
    To find the apps in this guide, we spoke with Jennifer Auten, an award-winning teacher in Cupertino, California, who has been using tablet and smartphone apps in her first- and second-grade curricula since the iPad was released in 2010. For recommendations of coding and STEM apps, we corresponded with representatives from Project Lead The Way, an education nonprofit that promotes STEM curricula for students and teachers. We spoke with Björn Jeffery, CEO of kids-game developer Toca Boca, to learn about designing games that foster open-ended and imaginative play. We also asked an astronomer, a programmer, and several parents on our staff for recommendations of apps they and their kids love in categories like science, music, and coding.

    We read articles and reports from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, and child developmental psychologists and educational researchers to learn about kids' media use and about principles for designing learning apps. Finally, we read through reviews and ratings from well-regarded children's media sites like Common Sense Media and Children's Technology Review.

    As with our guide to learning toys, we focused primarily on apps aimed at kids 3 to 8 years old, though older kids can enjoy many of our recommendations, as well. We chose this age range because, as Kathy Hirsh-Pasek has pointed out (PDF), "there are so many apps targeted toward [children in this range] that parents and educators do not know how to navigate the marketplace of possibilities."

    As noted above, experts are still studying what makes learning apps successful pedagogical tools, as well as fun and interesting activities for kids. But after speaking with our experts and reading the aforementioned research, we identified a few features that seem to be common among great learning apps.
    Open-ended, with limits: Most of the apps in this guide are open-ended in the sense that they encourage kids to independently explore, create, and navigate within the app. But researchers say it's important to have built-in limits, as well. The AAP has pointed out that digital games have traditionally been designed with rewards and reinforcement designed to keep kids playing as long as possible. The organization recommends that learning apps instead have "automatic 'stops' as the default design to encourage children and caregivers to pause the game use and turn to the 3-dimensional world." Engaging but not distracting: Apps have great potential to engage children through interactive features, but some research has shown that too many bells and whistles can distract children or reduce their comprehension. A good learning app uses interactive, animated, and responsive features to engage kids or enhance their comprehension, not simply to entertain. Hirsh-Pasek says parents should evaluate an app's interactive features and ask: "Do the enhancements actually add value and increase engagement, or do they cause distraction?" Encouraging interaction: The AAP and other researchers say that learning apps that encourage real-life interaction among multiple people—adult and child, or child and peers—can be especially strong at facilitating learning. The apps in this guide are fun and interesting for kids and adults, and many foster conversation and play outside of the app itself.
    With those guidelines in mind, we divided the apps in this guide into three categories.
    Skill-building apps: These apps are built around a learning goal, such as practicing and exploring mathematics concepts, or introducing coding and programming. Exploration apps: These apps let kids explore a subject or field—like astronomy or anatomy—at their own pace and sequence (similar to paging through a book) and with age-appropriate reading and interactive components. Sandbox apps: So-called because they're designed to be open-ended, like playing in a sandbox (PDF), these apps encourage kids to play, imagine, and create, but they don't have explicit goals, levels, or achievements.
    As with our guide to learning toys, we didn't test scores of apps to try to find the "best" ones. Rather, each app here has been chosen by teachers for their students in classrooms, used by Wirecutter parents and their kids, or recommended by the experts and educators we spoke with.
    Skill-building apps
    Bedtime Math (available for iOS and Android)seeks to do for math what the bedtime story does for literacy, by turning math into a bonding ritual between child and caregiver. The free app offers daily math questions designed to foster inquiry, conversation, and group problem-solving.

    Bedtime Math turns math into a nighttime bonding ritual between child and caregiver.
    The result is not just math-skill building (the efficacy of which has been demonstrated in a peer-reviewed study) but also increased math confidence for both children and adults. Auten told us she likes that the questions are written at a middle-school reading level, meaning an adult facilitates the discussion but you have a choice of four levels of difficulty based on the child's age and math level.

    DragonBox Numbers (available for iOS, Android, and Amazon), aimed at kids 5 and up, introduces number sense, addition, and subtraction through cute characters called Nooms. (The characters are designed to resemble Cuisenaire rods, math learning aids that introduce kids to arithmetic operations in a hands-on way.) Kids feed, slice, and sort the Nooms, developing familiarity with addition, subtraction, fractions, and ranges.

    DragonBox Elements turns geometry into an adventure game.
    DragonBox Elements (available for iOS, Android, and Amazon) turns Euclidean geometry into an adventure game for kids 8 and up. Continuing with the quest-and-puzzle theme of the other DragonBox games (tasking you with raising an army of shapes to conquer the dragon Osgard), the app does a surprisingly effective job of taking kids on a tour of Euclid's Elements, the classic 13-volume work that lays out the basic principles of geometry. As you solve puzzles to progress through each stage of the game, you're actually working through clever adaptations of Euclid's own proofs. Wirecutter executive editor Mike Berk's math-curious kid found the interface a bit confusing at first, but after solving the first few puzzles and getting used to the game's idiosyncratic tools (the mechanics of how to identify and select congruent angles, for instance, are not immediately obvious), worked through the entire quest, returning to the game repeatedly over several months and emerging more interested in mathematics than ever.
    Coding apps and games
    The Osmo system combines apps with hardware accessories. Photo: Osmo
    Many great apps teach coding, for kids as young as preschool and progressing through upper elementary grades—so many that when we asked our experts for recommendations, we ended up with a list of more than 15 apps. We've highlighted four of these apps because they offer unique features or are particularly easy to jump into and don't require the child or parent to have a coding background.

    The Osmo iPad games, which require a base system (a stand and a mirror that attaches to the iPad's camera), ask kids to use physical game pieces—representing shapes, words, numbers, and more—to play games on the iPad's screen. The Osmo Coding game uses bricks marked with commands, arrows, numbers, and loops that kids arrange into "scripts" to direct a cute character through mazes and challenges, picking up prizes such as strawberries. The physical pieces and the game structure mean that kids don't need to be able to read and write to begin learning the basics of programming.

    The Osmo Coding game uses characters and mazes to teach kids how to create scripts.
    Teacher Jennifer Auten, who uses Osmo Coding and other Osmo games in her classroom, says the fact that it combines an app with physical pieces makes kids more patient and thoughtful as they work through the challenges: "When something is purely on the screen, kids will sometimes end up just tapping as fast as they can, randomly guessing. With the manipulatives, it slows their thinking down." Auten also noted that the physical pieces make it easier to play the game with multiple people, fostering discussion, collaboration, and group problem-solving. She also likes that Osmo Coding is open-ended: "Kids can explore and create their own paths."

    The company recommends the app for ages 6 and older, but younger kids may be able to enjoy the app with or without some adult help. Kalani Craig, a professor of digital history at Indiana University, told us that her 4-year-old son has been playing Osmo Coding for a year. "He has total focus in front of the game," she said.

    Project Lead The Way, a nonprofit educational organization that promotes and develops STEM curricula and resources, told us, "The best apps for young students without previous experience are those that teach and help build logic and reasoning skills [and] critical thinking skills, and provide brain teasers." PLTW's curriculum writers like the Lightbot and Lightbot Jr apps as ways to get kids as young as 4 started with the basic concepts and logical structures of coding.

    Lightbot and Lightbot Jr don't teach an actual coding language, but they do introduce kids to the basics of commands, conditionals, loops, and nested statements.
    In Lightbot (available for iOS and Android), kids solve a series of simple puzzles by lining up commands that make a robot advance over obstacles and light up squares. As kids master basic concepts, they add more-complex commands, such as conditionals, loops, and nested statements. Lightbot Jr (available for iOS and Android) follows a similar structure but at a slower pace and with simpler challenges that focus on reinforcing the basics. A minimal amount of reading is required, so pre-readers may need adult help at the beginning.

    The Lightbot apps don't teach a coding language, but we think that's a positive feature: Once kids get the hang of the basics, they can explore apps that offer more-complex games and let them create their own projects by writing actual code.

    Since it debuted in early 2016, Swift Playgrounds (iOS) has been praised for presenting a fun, intuitive interface for kids roughly 8 and up—and motivated adults—to learn to code using Apple's Swift programming language. Swift Playgrounds moves slowly through skill-building lessons that introduce concepts while also letting you write real code.

    The app is divided into three lessons, beginning with simple commands, loops, and functions, later adding variables, parameters, event handlers, and more. Swift Playgrounds requires the ability to read and to enter instructions and commands, so it's suited for kids at a third-grade reading level or higher, or for use with a parent. (Kids who can't yet read at all are less likely to "get" the app, even if using it with an adult, since the commands are text rather than icons.)

    Swift Playgrounds requires at least a third-grade reading level to play independently, since it involves actual coding commands.
    "The challenges increase in difficulty gradually, without being too difficult too quickly," Erik Krietsch, a software programmer (and brother of Wirecutter science editor Leigh Krietsch-Boerner), told us. Krietsch plays Swift Playgrounds with his 5-year-old daughter, and though he says she got overwhelmed by more-complex tasks like creating her own functions, she was entertained by helping Byte (the cyclopean creature who guides you through the levels) enter portals and collect prizes like gems.
    Exploration apps
    Tinybop's Space app, with little text and beautiful graphics, is accessible for kids as young as 3 to explore the sun, planets, moon, and galaxy. Photo: Chris Heinonen

    Jana Grcevich, an astronomer and author who recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, has enjoyed the Professor Astro Cat app (available on iOS, Android, and Amazon), along with the popular book series it's based on, with her 6-year-old niece. Kids explore the app much like they would read a book, delving into facts, illustrations, and animations about planets, moons, stars, and space exploration. At various points, quizzes and other challenges let you earn sardine treats for Professor Astro Cat, keeping the app lighthearted. Minilab, the app's maker, gives the age range as 6 to 8 years old, but the reading requirements make it more appropriate for the 8 to 12 range, according to a third-grade teacher we consulted. (The teacher, the sister of this guide's writer, specializes in literacy.)

    With sparse text and beautifully illustrated graphics and animations, Space (iOS) from Tinybop allows kids as young as 3 to explore the sun, planets, moon, and galaxy. Kids witness raging volcanos and explosive gases on Venus, a curious rover inspecting the surface of Mars, and ice and rock rotating in Saturn's lonely, winding rings.

    The Space app lets even toddlers enjoy the wonders of the universe.
    Interactive sections let you put two planets on a scale to compare weights, or place them side by side to compare their sizes, giving kids a clear visual understanding of the scale and vastness of the solar system. Little delights include finding astronaut poop on the surface of the moon, and dropping pianos, balloons, and tin cans into the whirling vortex of Jupiter's Great Red Spot.

    Also from Tinybop, The Human Body (iOS) presents kids with an explorable human body that is neither cartoonish nor gory. You can toggle on or off the text labels that identify the systems and organs, but no reading is required to get deep into the app. Kids can watch a mouth chew food and swallow drink, slide into a stomach breaking down food, and follow flashing nerve signals as they race up to the brain.

    The Human Body lets kids explore and interact with what's inside them, with a body, organs, and systems that are neither gory nor cartoonish.
    The app's sounds are as compelling and instructive as the visuals: Gurgles, wooshes, creaks, and spurts give a visceral sense of what's happening inside us. The app is aimed at ages 6 through 8, but younger kids who are building familiarity with anatomy and the body can easily interact with the organs and systems.
    Sandbox apps
    Created by electronic-music pioneer Morton Subotnick, Pitch Painter (iOS) gives you a blank canvas on which you can "finger paint" musical notes. You select from instrument groupings representative of different musical cultures (North America and Europe, West Africa, the Middle East, and East Asia) and dab and swipe notes across the screen. As you layer instruments, the basic principles of note value, scales, and melody are visually illustrated on the screen. You can also "flip" your composition (changing ascending notes to descending, for example), or play it in reverse. Pitch Painter lets you create only short musical bursts (though you can save your work), and it doesn't allow you to alter other compositional features like time signature. But it's a novel way to introduce kids to open-ended musical experimentation and to the sounds of instruments from around the world, even if they can't yet read music. The app is designed for ages 3 to 5 (executive editor Mike Berk's child loved it as a preschooler before moving on to other music apps that allowed for longer compositions), and the easy-to-interpret icons mean it doesn't require reading or prior musical knowledge to use. Older kids and adults who enjoy experimenting with sound and color will also find the app engaging—though somewhat limited.

    This guide may have been updated by Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

    When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and Engadget may earn affiliate commissions.


OSNews




  • The future of Core, Intel GPUs, 10nm, and Hybrid x86
    It has been hard to miss the fact that Intel has been vacuuming up a lot of industry talent, which brings with them a lot of experience. Renduchintala, Koduri, Keller, Hook, and Carvill, are just to name a few. This new crew has decided to break Intel out of its shell for the first time in a while, holding the first in a new tradition of Intel Architecture Days. Through the five hours of presentations, Intel lifted the lid on the CPU core roadmaps through 2021, the next generation of integrated graphics, the future of Intel's graphics business, new chips built on 3D packaging technologies, and even parts of the microarchitecture for the 2019 consumer processors. In other words, it's many of the things we've been missing out on for years. And now that Intel is once again holding these kinds of disclosures, there's a lot to dig in to.
    AnandTech's coverage of the event.


  • Linux kernel developers discuss dropping x32 support
    It was just several years ago that the open-source ecosystem began supporting the x32 ABI, but already kernel developers are talking of potentially deprecating the support and for it to be ultimately removed.   The Linux x32 ABI as a reminder requires x86_64 processors and is engineered to support the modern x86_64 features but with using 32-bit pointers rather than 64-bit pointers. The x32 ABI allows for making use of the additional registers and other features of x86_64 but with just 32-bit pointers in order to provide faster performance when 64-bit pointers are unnecessary.
    This headline confused me for a second, because at first I thought the Linux team was removing 32 bit support - which obviously made little sense to me. As the quoted blurb explains, that's not the case.



  • How Doug Engelbart pulled off the Mother of all Demos
    Doug Engelbart was the first to actually build a computer that might seem familiar to us, today. He came to Silicon Valley after a stint in the Navy as a radar technician during World War II. Engelbart was, in his own estimation, a "naive drifter", but something about the Valley inspired him to think big. Engelbart's idea was that computers of the future should be optimized for human needs - communication and collaboration. Computers, he reasoned, should have keyboards and screens instead of punch cards and printouts. They should augment rather than replace the human intellect. And so he pulled a team together and built a working prototype: the oN‑Line System. Unlike earlier efforts, the NLS wasn't a military supercalculator. It was a general‑purpose tool designed to help knowledge workers perform better and faster, and that was a controversial idea. Letting non-engineers interact directly with a computer was seen as harebrained, utopian - subversive, even. And then people saw the demo.
    Engelbart is one of the greatest visionaries of this industry.


  • How a major bug in the October 2018 Update slipped past Microsoft
    Last week, Microsoft began the relaunch of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update after pulling it more than a month ago due to a file deletion bug that somehow crept into the shipping build. While Microsoft has since gone into extensive detail as to how it's making sure something like this doesn't happen again, it's still unclear how such an issue made its way into the final release. So I did some digging.
    Short version: Microsoft conflated two different bugs.





  • Goodbye, EdgeHTML
    Mozilla's response to Microsoft adopting Chromium.
    Microsoft is officially giving up on an independent shared platform for the internet. By adopting Chromium, Microsoft hands over control of even more of online life to Google.  This may sound melodramatic, but it's not. The "browser engines" - Chromium from Google and Gecko Quantum from Mozilla - are "inside baseball" pieces of software that actually determine a great deal of what each of us can do online. They determine core capabilities such as which content we as consumers can see, how secure we are when we watch content, and how much control we have over what websites and services can do to us. Microsoft's decision gives Google more ability to single-handedly decide what possibilities are available to each one of us.
    The question is now how long Firefox will be able to survive. The cold and harsh truth is that Firefox usage hasn't exactly been trending upwards, and with even Microsoft throwing its full weight behind Chromium, even more web developers won't even bother to test against anything other than Chromium and Apple's WebKit. How long can Mozilla and Firefox survive this reality?



  • LG Releases Gram 17 laptop: ultra-thin, 17.3" display
    Due to their size and lack of portability, 17-inch notebooks are not exactly popular among road warriors. Instead this is largely the domain of desktop replacement-class machines, which in turn has caused 17-inch laptops to be built bigger still in order to maximize their performance and emphasize the replacement aspect. Every now and then however we see a 17-inch laptop that still tries to be reasonably portable, and this is the case with LG's latest gram laptop, which hit the market this week.  Equipped with a 17.3-inch screen featuring a 2560×1600 resolution, the LG gram 17 comes in a dark silver Carbon Magnesium alloy chassis that is only 17.8 mm (0.7 inches) thick, which is thinner than most 15-inch notebooks (in fact, this even thinner than the ASUS ZenBook Pro 15). Meanwhile, the laptop weighs 1.33 kilograms (2.95 pounds), which is in line with many 13-inch mobile PCs. As a result, while the 17-inch gram still has a relatively large footprint, its still a relatively portable laptop.
    I'm genuinely surprised LG decided to put this 17-incher on the market - consider it a sort of spiritual successor to the 17" PowerBook G4, in my view one of the best laptops ever made. It seems like the market has pretty much settled on 12"-13", with a few professional and low-end laptops offering a 15" screen. I hope this LG laptop is at least even a modest success, because I'd love for more 17" laptops to make it to market.


  • Microsoft announces switch to Chromium for Edge
    It's official.
    For the past few years, Microsoft has meaningfully increased participation in the open source software (OSS) community, becoming one of the world's largest supporters of OSS projects. Today we're announcing that we intend to adopt the Chromium open source project in the development of Microsoft Edge on the desktop to create better web compatibility for our customers and less fragmentation of the web for all web developers.  As part of this, we intend to become a significant contributor to the Chromium project, in a way that can make not just Microsoft Edge - but other browsers as well - better on both PCs and other devices. The new Edge
    Microsoft also has plans to bring Edge to other platforms, such as macOS. In addition, and perhaps most surprisingly, the new Edge will not be a UWP application - it will be a Win32 application that will also be available to Windows 7 and 8 users.



Linux Journal - The Original Magazine of the Linux Community

  • Epic Games' Free Cross-Platform Service Coming in 2019, Harness Announces New 24-7 Service Guard, Vivaldi Version 2.2 Released, KDE Applications 18.2 Are Out and Valve's Steam Link App for RPi Officially Available

    News briefs for December 14, 2018.

    Epic Games recently announced it's working on a free cross-platform service for 2019: "Throughout 2019, we'll be launching a large set of cross-platform game services originally built for Fortnite, and battle-tested with 200,000,000 players across 7 platforms. These services will be free for all developers, and will be open to all engines, all platforms, and all stores. As a developer, you're free to choose mix-and-match solutions from Epic and others as you wish." Epic also noted that "all services will be operated in a privacy-friendly, GDPR-compliant manner".

    Harness yesterday announced the release of 24x7 Service Guard, a new "Machine Learning-based capability that empowers and protects developers who practice Continuous Delivery". According to the press release, "With 24x7 Service Guard, engineering teams now have the equivalent of a dedicated bodyguard to watch all production services and observe the end user experience across all APM, monitoring, and log tools. When a service is impacted, 24x7 Service Guard can proactively roll back code changes automatically—the equivalent of a 'safety net' for production applications."

    Vivaldi, the ultra-customizable browser with a do-not-track policy, released a new version yesterday. Version 2.2 "improves accessibility, navigation and media". The Vivaldi blog post notes that "the update introduces more unique ways to manage tabs, makes Access Keys easier to use, integrates Pop Out video, and makes the browser's toolbars more configurable." You can download Vivaldi from here.

    KDE Applications 18.12 are out. This release resolves more than 140 issues and features several improvements including practical file management with Dolphin, Okular enhancements, full support for emojis in Konsole, usability improvements for everyone and more. See the full list of changes here.

    Valve's Steam link app for Raspberry Pi 3B and 3B+ is now officially available. Phoronix reports that "This app provides similar functionality to the low-cost Steam Link dedicated device that's been available the past few years for allowing in-home streaming of games on Steam from your personal PC(s) to living room / HTPC type setups using Steam Link." You can get the app here.
          News  gaming  Harness  Machine Learning  Monitoring  Vivaldi  Privacy  KDE  Valve  Raspberry Pi  Steam                   


  • FOSS Project Spotlight: Appaserver
    by Tim Riley   
    An introduction to an application server that allows you to build MySQL user interfaces without programming.

    Assume you are tasked to write a browser-based, MySQL user interface for the table called CITY. CITY has two columns. The column names are city_name and state_code—each combined are the primary key.

    Your user interface must enable users to execute the four main SQL operations: select, insert, update and delete. The main characteristics for each operation are:
     The select operation needs an HTML prompt form to request a query. It also needs a where clause generator to select from CITY. After forking MySQL and retrieving the raw rows, it needs to translate them into an HTML table form.   The HTML table form needs to be editable, and user edits need to be translated into update statements.   Each resulting row following the execution of a query is a candidate for deletion.   The insert operation needs a blank form. It also needs to translate Apache's common gateway interface (CGI) into insert statements.
    So, you might create the source file called city.c and type in all the required code. Of course, relational databases have relations. One city has many persons residing in it. Assume the PERSON table has the column names of full_name, street_address, city_name and state_code. full_name and street_address combined are the primary key (Figure 1).

     Figure 1. Database Schema of Many Persons Residing in One City

    Are you going to create the source file called person.c too? What about customer.c, inventory.c, order.c, ...?

    Alternatively, you might create the source files called select.c, insert.c, update.c and delete.c. Then each of these modules would need as input:
     A single table name.   The table's additional attributes.   The table's column names and additional attributes.   A recursive list of related tables.   Apache's CGI dictionary output.
    The principle behind Appaserver is this multi-module approach. Appaserver stores table names in a table. Each table's column names and relations are also stored in tables. Taking the table-driven concept to the nth degree forms a database of a database. You can glean a detailed understanding of how the Appaserver database is modeled from https://appahost.com/appaserver_database_schema.pdf.
        Go to Full Article          


  • Opera Launches Built-in Cryptocurrency Wallet for Android, ManagedKube Partners with Google Cloud to Provide a Monitoring App for Kubernetes Cluster Costs, QEMU 3.1 Released, IoT DevCon Call for Presentations and GNOME 3.31.3 Is Out

    News briefs for December 13, 2018.

    Opera announced today the launch of a built-in cryptocurrency wallet for Android. According to The Verge, "The wallet will first support ethereum, with support for other coins likely to come later. Ether investors using Opera would potentially be able to more easily access their tokens using the feature." You can get Opera for Android here.

    ManagedKube, a Kubernetes software development tool company, announced yesterday it is collaborating with Google Cloud to "launch a monitoring application that provides companies with visibility into their Kubernetes cluster costs". The press release notes that "ManagedKube provides an easy-to-read dashboard that gives insights on how much is being spent on each pod, node, and persistent volume across multiple time dimensions. This visibility allows companies to forecast budgets, understand product margins, and quickly identify optimization opportunities for reducing Kubernetes cloud costs."

    QEMU 3.1 has been released. Phoronix reports that this update of the QEMU emulator adds "multi-threaded Tiny Code Generator support, display improvements, adds the Cortex-A72 model and other ARM improvements, and various other enhancements". For more details, see the QEMU ChangeLog.

    IoT DevCon call for presentations is now open. Deadline for proposals is February 28, 2019. The conference is being held June 5–6 in Santa Clara, California.

    GNOME 3.31.3 is out, and this will be the last snapshot of 2018. Note that this is development code meant for testing and hacking purposes. For a list of changes, go here, and the source packages are here.
          News  Opera  Android  Cryptocurrency  Kubernetes  Google  Qemu  IOT  GNOME                   


  • About ncurses Colors
    by Jim Hall   
    Why does ncurses support only eight colors?

    If you've looked into the color palette available in curses, you may wonder why curses supports only eight colors. The curses.h include file defines these color macros:
      COLOR_BLACK COLOR_RED COLOR_GREEN COLOR_YELLOW COLOR_BLUE COLOR_MAGENTA COLOR_CYAN COLOR_WHITE  
    But why only eight colors, and why these particular colors? At least with the Linux console, if you're running on a PC, the color range's origins are with the PC hardware.
     A Brief History of Color
    Linux started as a PC operating system, so the first Linux console was a PC running in text mode. And to understand the color palette on the PC console, you need to go all the way back to the old CGA days. In text mode, the PC terminal had a color palette of 16 colors, enumerated 0 (black) to 15 (white). Backgrounds were limited to the first eight colors:
     0. Black    1. Blue    2. Green    3. Cyan    4. Red    5. Magenta    6. Brown    7. White ("Light Gray")    8. Bright Black ("Gray")    9. Bright Blue    10. Bright Green    11. Bright Cyan    12. Bright Red    13. Bright Magenta    14. Yellow    15. Bright White 
    These colors go back to CGA, IBM's Color/Graphics Adapter from the earlier PC-compatible computers. This was a step up from the plain monochrome displays; as the name implies, monochrome could display only black or white. CGA could display a limited range of colors.

    CGA supports mixing red (R), green (G) and blue (B) colors. In its simplest form, RGB is either "on" or "off". In this case, you can mix the RGB colors in 2x2x2=8 ways. Table 1 shows the binary and decimal representations of RGB.
    Table 1. Binary and Decimal Representations of RGB   000 (0) Black 001 (1) Blue 010 (2) Green  011 (3) Cyan  100 (4) Red 101 (5) Magenta  110 (6) Yellow 111 (7) White 
    To double the number of colors, CGA added an extra bit called the "intensifier" bit. With the intensifier bit set, the red, green and blue colors would be set to their maximum values. Without the intensifier bit, each RGB value would be set to a "midrange" intensity. Let's represent that intensifier bit as an extra 1 or 0 in the binary color representation, as iRGB (Table 2).
        Go to Full Article          



  • Lessons in Vendor Lock-in: Shaving
    by Kyle Rankin   
    Learn how to embrace open standards while you remove stubble.

    Freedom is powerful. When you start using free software, a whole world opens up to you, and you start viewing everything in a different light. You start noticing when vendors don't release their code or when they try to lock you in to their products with proprietary protocols. These vendor lock-in techniques aren't new or even unique to software. Companies long have tried to force customer loyalty with incompatible proprietary products that make you stay on an upgrade treadmill. Often you can apply these free software principles outside the software world, so in this article, I describe my own object lesson in vendor lock-in from the shaving industry.

    When I first started shaving, I was pretty intimidated with the notion of a sharp blade against my face so I picked the easiest and least-intimidating route: electric razors. Of course, electric razors have a large up-front cost, and after some time, you have to buy replacement blades. Still, the shaves were acceptable as far as I knew, so I didn't mind much.

    At some point in my shaving journey, Gillette released the Mach 3 disposable razor. For some reason, this design appealed to a lot of geeks, and I ended up hearing about it on geek-focused blogs like Slashdot back in the day. I decided to try it out, and after I got over the initial intimidation, I realized it really wasn't all that hard to shave with it, and due to the multiple blades and lubricating strip along the top, I got a much closer shave.

    I was a convert. I ditched my electric razor and went all in with the Mach 3. Of course, those disposable blades had the tendency to wear out pretty quickly, along with that blue lubricating strip, so I'd find myself dropping a few bucks per blade to get refills after a few shaves. Then again, Gillette was famous for the concept of giving away the razor and making its money on the blade, so this wasn't too surprising.
     We're Going to Four Blades!
    The tide started turning for me a few years later when Gillette decided to deprecate the Mach 3 in favor of a new design—this time with four blades, a lubricating strip and a rubber strip along the bottom! Everyone was supposed to switch over to this new and more expensive design, but I was perfectly happy with what I was using, and the new blades were incompatible with my Mach 3 razor, so I didn't pay it much attention.

    The problem was that with this new design, replacement Mach 3 blades became harder and harder to come by, and all of the blades started creeping up in price. Eventually, I couldn't buy Mach 3 blades in bulk at my local warehouse store, and finally I gave up and bought one of the even more expensive new Gillette razors. What else could I do?
        Go to Full Article          



  • Testing Your Code with Python's pytest, Part II
    by Reuven M. Lerner   
    Testing functions isn't hard, but how do you test user input and output?

    In my last article, I started looking at "pytest", a framework for testing Python programs that's really changed the way I look at testing. For the first time, I really feel like testing is something I can and should do on a regular basis; pytest makes things so easy and straightforward.

    One of the main topics I didn't cover in my last article is user input and output. How can you test programs that expect to get input from files or from the user? And, how can you test programs that are supposed to display something on the screen?

    So in this article, I describe how to test input and output in a variety of ways, allowing you to test programs that interact with the outside world. I try not only to explain what you can do, but also show how it fits into the larger context of testing in general and pytest in particular.
     User Input
    Say you have a function that asks the user to enter an integer and then returns the value of that integer, doubled. You can imagine that the function would look like this:
      def double():  x = input("Enter an integer: ")  return int(x) * 2  
    How can you test that function with pytest? If the function were to take an argument, the answer would be easy. But in this case, the function is asking for interactive input from the user. That's a bit harder to deal with. After all, how can you, in your tests, pretend to ask the user for input?

    In most programming languages, user input comes from a source known as standard input (or stdin). In Python, sys.stdin is a read-only file object from which you can grab the user's input.

    So, if you want to test the "double" function from above, you can (should) replace sys.stdin with another file. There are two problems with this, however. First, you don't really want to start opening files on disk. And second, do you really want to replace the value of sys.stdin in your tests? That'll affect more than just one test.

    The solution comes in two parts. First, you can use the pytest "monkey patching" facility to assign a value to a system object temporarily for the duration of the test. This facility requires that you define your test function with a parameter named monkeypatch. The pytest system notices that you've defined it with that parameter, and then not only sets the monkeypatch local variable, but also sets it up to let you temporarily set attribute names.

    In theory, then, you could define your test like this:
        Go to Full Article          



  • Cumulus Networks Partners with Lenovo, Unvanquished Game Announces First Alpha in Almost Three Years, KDE Frameworks 5.53.0 Released, Git v2.20.0 Is Now Available and Major Milestone WordPress Update

    News briefs for December 10, 2018.

    Cumulus Networks is partnering with Lenovo to deliver open data-center networking switches. According to the press release, through this partnership, "Lenovo will offer ThinkSystem RackSwitch models with support for Cumulus Linux. Lenovo customers can now use Cumulus' popular network operating system (OS), Cumulus Linux, and Cumulus' operational management tool, NetQ, while taking advantage of unprecedented third-party options including network automation and monitoring to drive greater operational efficiency."

    Developers of the open-source game Unvanquished announce a new alpha release, Unvanquished Alpha 51 today, marking their first release in almost three years. According to Phoronix, the beta should drop soon as well. See the game's website for details.

    KDE yesterday announced the release of KDE Frameworks 5.53.0. KDE Frameworks is made up of 70 add-on libraries to Qt, and this release is part of a series of planned monthly releases. See the announcement for the list of what's new in this version.

    The latest feature release of Git, v2.20.0, is now available. According to the release announcement this version is composed of "962 non-merge commits since v2.19.0 (this is by far the largest release in v2.x.x series), contributed by 83 people, 26 of which are new faces". You can get the tarballs here.

    WordPress recently announced a new major milestone update, WordPress 5.0, which is code-named "Bebo" in honor of Cuban jazz musician Bebo Valdés. The biggest user-facing change is the new Project Gutenberg editor, "the primary interface to how WordPress site administrators create content and define how it is displayed". See the WordPress blog for more information on the new block-based editor.
          News  Lenovo  gaming  KDE  qt  git  WordPress                   


Linux Magazine » Channels



  • 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


Page last modified on October 08, 2013, at 07:08 PM