28 Nov 2014

feedThe Register - Software: Operating Systems

Ten Mac freeware apps for your new Apple baby

The latest from the software gift horse stables

Product round-up One saving grace of buying a shiny new Mac over a PC is certainly the lack of factory-installed bloatware. However, while Mac OS X is far from featureless, many users will find themselves headed straight to the Mac App Store or elsewhere to supplement their experience.…

28 Nov 2014 11:02am GMT

feedSlashdot

Ubisoft Apologizes For Assassin's Creed

BarbaraHudson writes in with the latest in the Assassin's Creed Unity debacle. This time it's good news. "As an acknowledgment of the botched launch of Assassin's Creed Unity, Ubisoft has offered free additional content to everyone who purchased the title, cancelled the game's season pass and offered a free game to users who purchased the pass. The anticipation for Assassin's Creed Unity was such that the myriad of bugs and technical issues experienced at launch felt like an even greater slap in the face for gamers. In a blog posted yesterday, Yannis Mallat, CEO of Ubisoft Montreal & Toronto said: 'Unfortunately, at launch, the overall quality of the game was diminished by bugs and unexpected technical issues. I want to sincerely apologize on behalf of Ubisoft and the entire Assassin's Creed team. These problems took away from your enjoyment of the game, and kept many of you from experiencing the game at its fullest potential.'"

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28 Nov 2014 10:30am GMT

feedLifehacker

Choose From Two Great Pairs of Over-Ears at All-Time Low Prices

Choose From Two Great Pairs of Over-Ears at All-Time Low Prices

We were hoping Amazon had another surprise up their sleeve for Black Friday, and they didn't disappoint with these headphone deals.

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28 Nov 2014 8:17am GMT

feedSlashdot

Renewables Are Now Scotland's Biggest Energy Source

AmiMoJo writes Government figures revealed that Scotland is now generating more power from "clean" technologies than nuclear, coal and gas. The combination of wind, solar and hydroelectric, along with less-publicized sources such as landfill gas and biomass, produced 10.3TWh in the first half of 2014. Over the same period, Scotland generated 7.8TWh from nuclear, 5.6TWh from coal and 1.4TWh from gas, according to figures supplied by National Grid. Renewable sources tend to fluctuate throughout the year, especially in Scotland where the weather is notoriously volatile, but in six-month chunks the country has consistently increased its renewable output.

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28 Nov 2014 8:08am GMT

feedLifehacker

Almost 30 of Your Favorite Logitech Peripherals Discounted

Almost 30 of Your Favorite Logitech Peripherals Discounted

We love Logitech, you love Logitech, here are an insane amount of discounted Logitech peripherals.

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28 Nov 2014 6:19am GMT

feedSlashdot

Researchers Discover an "Off Switch" For Pain In the Brain

concertina226 writes Scientists working together from several international universities have discovered that it is possible to block a pathway in the brain of animals suffering from neuropathic pain, which could have a huge impact on improving pain relief in humans. So far, the most successful ways to treat chronic pain from a pharmacological point of view are to create drugs that that interact or interfere with various channels in the brain to decrease pain, including adrenergic, opioid and calcium receptors. However, there is another way - a chemical stimulator called adenosine that binds to brain receptors to trigger a biological response. Adenosine has shown potential for killing pain in humans, but so far, no one has managed to harness this pain pathway successfully without causing a myriad of side effects. Led by Dr Daniela Salvemini of SLU, the researchers discovered that by activating the A3 adenosine receptor in the rodents' brains and spinal cords, the receptor was able to prevent or reverse pain from nerve damage (the cause of chronic pain).

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28 Nov 2014 5:30am GMT

feedLifehacker

Stock Up on iTunes Credit for 25% Off

Stock Up on iTunes Credit for 25% Off

We see iTunes credit at 15-20% discounts every now and then, but the deals almost never get better than that. Today though, eBay is selling $100 iTunes cards for 25% off, so you should absolutely stock up for the year ahead. [eBay]

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28 Nov 2014 5:01am GMT

feedOSNews

Debian fork promises no systemd, asks for donations

The Debian fork website, put together by the Veteran Unix Admins (VUA) group, has annouced the VUA has decided to fork the popular Debian GNU/Linux distribution. The VUA is critical of Debian's decision to adopt systemd as the distribution's default init software and to allow software packaged for Debian to depend directly on systemd. The VUA plans to create a fork of Debian using SysV Init as the default init software and is asking for donations to support the endevor. The default init system in the next Debian v8 "Jessie" release will be systemd, bringing along a deep web of dependencies. We need to individuate those dependencies, clean them from all packages affected and provide an alternative repository where to get them. The stability of our fork is the main priority in this phase. There has been a lot of debate over systemd in the Debian community in the past few months and it will be interesting to see if this non-systemd fork of Debian gains support.

28 Nov 2014 12:09am GMT

Yandex' new browser is a bold UI experiment

Russian internet giant Yandex has launched an alpha version of its new Chromium-based browser for Windows and Mac OS X that incorporates a few interesting ideas of how a modern browser might look. The main difference from the interface of Chrome or Firefox is the ultimate minimalism and the fact that the tabs are moved to the bottom of the page. It actually looks quite appealing. More information and download links can be found in Yandex' blog post.

28 Nov 2014 12:09am GMT

feedArs Technica

iWork ’14 review: Still waiting for that great leap forward

No backward compatibility, but the productivity suite is free for all Mac, iOS users.

28 Nov 2014 12:00am GMT

27 Nov 2014

feedArs Technica

Far Cry 4 review: it’s déjà vu all over again, and I love it

By keeping it familiar, Ubisoft's new open world shooter is a triumph.

27 Nov 2014 8:15pm GMT

Get rare deals on console hardware and accessories this Black Friday

Xbox One with bonuses for $330, two free games with $400 PS4, and much more.

27 Nov 2014 8:00pm GMT

feedOSNews

Windows 10 bumps kernel version to 10.0

A long-standing oddity of Windows is that its branded number has for some years now not matched the version number stamped into the kernel and other parts of the operating system. Windows 7, for example, reported itself to software as being version 6.1. Windows 8 is 6.2, and Windows 8.1 is 6.3. Current public builds of Windows 10 repeat this trend - they purport to be version 6.4 - but not for much longer. Chinese site ITHome published a picture showing the version number to be 10.0. Version number 10.0 is also cropping up on BuildFeed which tracks build numbers, and has been further corroborated elsewhere. Interesting little tidbit of information.

27 Nov 2014 3:24pm GMT

22 Nov 2014

feedThe Register - Software: Operating Systems

Leaked screenshots show next Windows kernel to be a perfect 10

Not since Vista has this happened

Microsoft surprised us by upping its Windows product numbering from 8.1 straight to 10, and now it appears it's planning to make an even greater leap in the version numbering of the Windows kernel itself.…

22 Nov 2014 3:09am GMT

21 Nov 2014

feedThe Register - Software: Operating Systems

First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you

Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch

Motorola has issued a recall for an early batch of its hotly anticipated new Nexus 6 smartphones that were sold through US mobile carrier AT&T, owing to a software glitch that can reportedly causes the devices to boot to a black screen.…

21 Nov 2014 10:46pm GMT

24 Oct 2014

feedPlanet Arch Linux

Pruning Tarsnap Archives

I started using Tarsnap about three years ago and I have been nothing but impressed with it since. It is simple to use, extremely cost effective and, more than once, it has saved me from myself; making it easy to retrieve copies of files that I have inadvertently overwritten or otherwise done stupid things with1. When I first posted about it, I included a simple wrapper script, which has held up pretty well over that time.

What became apparent over the last couple of months, as I began to consciously make more regular backups, was that pruning the archives was a relatively tedious business. Given that Tarsnap de-duplicates data, there isn't much mileage in keeping around older archives because, if you do have to retrieve a file, you don't want to have to search through a large number of archives to find it; so there is a balance between making use of Tarsnap's efficient functionality, and not creating a rod for your back if your use case is occasionally retrieving single-or small groups of-files, rather than large dumps.

I have settled on keeping five to seven archives, depending on the frequency of my backups, which is somewhere around two to three times a week. Pruning these archives was becoming tedious, so I wrote a simple script to make it less onerous. Essentially, it writes a list of all the archives to a tmpfile, runs sort(1) to order them from oldest to newest, and then deletes the oldest minus whatever the number to keep is set to.

The bulk of the code is simple enough:

snapclean
</p>

<h1>generate list</h1>

<p>tarsnap --list-archives > "$tmpfile"</p>

<h1>sort by descending date, format is: host-ddmmyy_hh:mm</h1>

<p>{
  rm "$tmpfile" &amp;&amp; sort -k 1.11,1.10 -k 1.8,1.9 -k 1.7,1.6 > "$tmpfile"
} &lt; "$tmpfile"</p>

<h1>populate the list</h1>

<p>mapfile -t archives &lt; "$tmpfile"</p>

<h1>print the full list</h1>

<p>printf "%s\n%s\n" "${cyn}Current archives${end}:" "${archives[@]#*-}"</p>

<h1>identify oldest archives</h1>

<p>remove=$(( ${#archives[@]} - keep ))
targets=( $(head -n "$remove" "$tmpfile") )</p>

<h1>if there is at least one to remove</h1>

<p>if (( ${#targets[@]} >= 1 )); then
  printf "%s\n" "${red}Archives to delete${end}:"
  printf "%s\n" "${targets[@]#*-}"</p>

<p>  read -p "Proceed with deletion? [${red}Y${end}/N] " YN</p>

<p>  if [[ $YN == Y ]]; then</p>

<pre><code>for archive in "${targets[@]}"; do
  tarsnap -d --no-print-stats -f "$archive"
done &amp;&amp; printf "%s\n" "${yel}Archives successfully deleted...${end}"

printf "\n%s\n" "${cyn}Remaining archives:${end}"
tarsnap --list-archives
</code></pre>

<p>  else</p>

<pre><code>printf "%s\n" "${yel}Operation aborted${end}"
</code></pre>

<p>  fi
else
  printf "%s\n" "Nothing to do"
  exit 0
fi

You can see the rest of the script in my bitbucket repo. It even comes with colour.

Once every couple of weeks, I run the script, review the archives marked for deletion and then blow them away. Easy. If you aren't using Tarsnap, you really should check it out; it is an excellent service and-for the almost ridiculously small investment-you get rock solid, encrypted peace of mind. Why would you not do that?

Coda

This is the one hundredth post on this blog: a milestone that I never envisaged getting anywhere near. Looking back through the posts, nearly 60,000 words worth, there are a couple there that continue to draw traffic and are obviously seen at some level as helpful. There are also quite a few that qualify as "filler", but blogging is a discipline like any other and sometimes you just have to push something up to keep the rhythm going. In any event, this is a roundabout way of saying that, for a variety of reasons both personal and professional, I am no longer able to fulfil my own expectations of regularly pushing these posts out.

I will endeavour to, from time to time when I find something that I genuinely think is worth sharing, make an effort to write about it, but I can't see that happening all that often. I'd like to thank all the people that have read these posts; especially those of you that have commented. With every post, I always looked forward to people telling me where I got something wrong or how I could have approached a problem differently or more effectively2; I learned a lot from these pointers and I am grateful to the people that were generous enough to share them.

Notes

  1. The frequency with which this happens is, admittedly, low; but not low enough to confidently abandon a service like this…
  2. Leaving a complimentary note is just as welcome, don't get me wrong…

24 Oct 2014 8:38pm GMT

22 Oct 2014

feedPlanet Arch Linux

SysV init on Arch Linux, and Debian

Arch Linux distributes systemd as its init daemon, and has deprecated SysV init in June 2013. Debian is doing the same now and we see panic and terror sweep through that community, especially since this time thousands of my sysadmin colleagues are affected. But like with Arch Linux we are witnessing irrational behavior, loud protests all the way to the BSD camp and public threats of Debian forking. Yet all that is needed, and let's face it much simpler to achieve, is organizing a specialized user group interested in keeping SysV (or your alternative) usable in your favorite GNU/Linux distribution with members that support one another, exactly as I wrote back then about Arch Linux.

Unfortunately I'm not aware of any such group forming in the Arch Linux community around sysvinit, and I've been running SysV init alone as my PID 1 since then. It was not a big deal, but I don't always have time or the willpower to break my personal systems after a 60 hour work week, and the real problems are yet to come anyway - if (when) for example udev stops working without systemd PID 1. If you had a support group, and especially one with a few coding gurus among you most of the time chances are they would solve a difficult problem first, and everyone benefits. On some other occasions an enthusiastic user would solve it first, saving gurus from a lousy weekend.

For anyone else left standing at the cheapest part of the stadium, like me, maybe uselessd as a drop-in replacement is the way to go after major subsystems stop working in our favorite GNU/Linux distributions. I personally like what they reduced systemd to (inspired by suckless.org philosophy?), but chances are without support the project ends inside 2 years, and we would be back here duct taping in isolation.

22 Oct 2014 9:51pm GMT

Changes to Intel microcode updates

Microcode on Intel CPUs is no longer loaded automatically, as it needs to be loaded very early in the boot process. This requires adjustments in the bootloader. If you have an Intel CPU, please follow the instructions in the wiki.

22 Oct 2014 9:29pm GMT

20 May 2012

feedPlanet Sun

Annular Solar Eclipse on Sunday, May 20th 2012

On Sunday, May 20th 2012, people in a narrow strip from Japan to the western United States will be able to see an annular solar eclipse, the first in 18 years. The moon will cover as much as 94% of the sun. An Annular Solar Eclipse is different from a Total Solar Eclipse, when the […]

20 May 2012 9:51pm GMT

09 Nov 2011

feedIGN PC

2 Million Leave World of Warcraft

In the last year the number of World of Warcraft subscribers has fallen in the from 12 million to 10.3 million...

09 Nov 2011 11:55am GMT

AC: Revelations First-Person Missions

Assassin's Creed: Revelations will have first-person missions...

09 Nov 2011 10:58am GMT

feedPlanet Security

Zone-H: http://gkppondokmelati.org

http://gkppondokmelati.org defaced by Arakloverz

09 Nov 2011 7:01am GMT

Zone-H: http://www.gentapublishing.com

http://www.gentapublishing.com defaced by Arakloverz

09 Nov 2011 6:42am GMT

Zone-H: http://gagap.net

http://gagap.net defaced by Arakloverz

09 Nov 2011 6:42am GMT

feedIGN PC

An Experience Loophole in Battlefield 3

Via YouTube user DarkSydeGeoff, we came across a Battlefield 3 exploit that allows friends to boost enormous amounts of experience in hardcore matches...

09 Nov 2011 1:43am GMT

13 May 2011

feedPlanet Sun

The story behind Planet Sun

Some words about history of Planet Sun. For round about six years Planet Sun has been an aggregation of public weblogs written by employees of Sun Microsystems. Though it never was a product or publication of Sun Microsystems itself. The website was powered by Planet and run by David Edmondson. On 01 Mar 2010 David […]

13 May 2011 12:36am GMT

10 May 2011

feedPlanet Sun

Hello world!

A warm welcome to our guests. This is your first wordpress post. We should edit or delete it, and then start blogging! Let's save our planet. Renewable energy is the future. Bio & Nature.

10 May 2011 10:18pm GMT