18 Oct 2018

feedSlashdot

Chinese City 'Plans To Launch Artificial Moon To Replace Streetlights'

The south-western Chinese city of Chengdu is planning to launch an illumination satellite in 2020 that is "designed to complement the moon at night," though it would be eight times as bright. "The 'dusk-like glow' of the satellite would be able to light an area with a diameter of 10-80km, while the precise illumination range could be controlled within tens of meters -- enabling it to replace streetlights," reports The Guardian. From the report: The vision was shared by Wu Chunfeng, the chairman of the private space contractor Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co (Casc), at a national mass innovation and entrepreneurship event held in Chengdu last week. Wu reportedly said testing had begun on the satellite years ago and the technology had now evolved enough to allow for launch in 2020. It is not clear whether the plan has the backing of the city of Chengdu or the Chinese government, though Casc is the main contractor for the Chinese space program. The People's Daily was quick to reassure those concerned about the fake moon's impact on night-time wildlife. It cited Kang Weimin, director of the Institute of Optics, School of Aerospace, Harbin Institute of Technology, who "explained that the light of the satellite is similar to a dusk-like glow, so it should not affect animals' routines."

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18 Oct 2018 2:10am GMT

Essential Products, Startup From Android Creator Andy Rubin, Lays Off 30 Percent of Staff

Essential Products, a startup founded in 2015 by Android creator Andy Rubin, was started to create a smartphone with high-end design features that wasn't associated with a particular operating-system maker. Unfortunately, reaching that goal has been harder than anticipated as the company has laid off about 30 percent of its staff. Fortune reports: Cuts were particularly deep in hardware and marketing. The company's website indicates it has about 120 employees. A company spokesperson didn't confirm the extent of layoffs, but said that the decision was difficult for the firm to make and, "We are confident that our sharpened product focus will help us deliver a truly game changing consumer product." The firm was Rubin's first startup after leaving Google in 2014, which had acquired his co-founded firm, Android, in 2005. Essential's first phone came out in August 2017, a few weeks later than initially promised. It received mixed reviews, with most critics citing its lower quality and missing features relative to competing smartphones, such as a lack of waterproofing and poor resiliency to damage. The company dropped the price from an initial $699 within weeks to $499, and offered it on Black Monday in November 2017 for $399.

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18 Oct 2018 1:30am GMT

Trivial Authentication Bypass In Libssh Leaves Servers Wide Open

Ars Technica reports of "a four-year-old bug in the Secure Shell implementation known as libssh that makes it trivial for just about anyone to gain unfettered administrative control of a vulnerable server." It's not clear how many sites or devices may be vulnerable since neither the widely used OpenSSH nor Github's implementation of libssh was affected. From the report: The vulnerability, which was introduced in libssh version 0.6 released in 2014, makes it possible to log in by presenting a server with a SSH2_MSG_USERAUTH_SUCCESS message rather than the SSH2_MSG_USERAUTH_REQUEST message the server was expecting, according to an advisory published Tuesday. Exploits are the hacking equivalent of a Jedi mind trick, in which an adversary uses the Force to influence or confuse weaker-minded opponents. The last time the world saw an authentication-bypass bug with such serious consequences and requiring so little effort was 11 months ago, when Apple's macOS let people log in as admin without entering a password. On the brighter side, there were no immediate signs of any big-name sites being bitten by the bug, which is indexed as CVE-2018-10933. While Github uses libssh, the site officials said on Twitter that "GitHub.com and GitHub Enterprise are unaffected by CVE-2018-10933 due to how we use the library." In a follow-up tweet, GitHub security officials said they use a customized version of libssh that implements an authentication mechanism separate from the one provided by the library. Out of an abundance of caution, GitHub has installed a patch released with Tuesday's advisory. Another limitation: only vulnerable versions of libssh running in server mode are vulnerable, while the client mode is unaffected. Peter Winter-Smith, a researcher at security firm NCC who discovered the bug and privately reported it to libssh developers, told Ars the vulnerability is the result of libssh using the same machine state to authenticate clients and servers. Because exploits involve behavior that's safe in the client but unsafe in the server context, only servers are affected.

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18 Oct 2018 12:50am GMT

17 Oct 2018

feedArs Technica

New 100-mile electric van matches diesel vans on price, Workhorse says

Ohio company is low-key delivering on electric promises.

17 Oct 2018 11:38pm GMT

feedOSNews

Facebook under fire as US officials back removal of Zuckerberg

Three state treasurers and a top official from New York have joined a shareholders' motion to install an independent chairman at Facebook, claiming the move would improve governance and accountability. [...] The move comes as Facebook was presented with a new legal challenge. The technology company has been accused of misleading advertisers by inflating the viewing figures for videos on its site. A group of US advertisers launched a fraud claim against the social media giant on Tuesday, stating that it had overstated the average viewing time of advertising videos on the site by between 100 and 900pc before reporting them in 2016.

All tech companies are pretty terrible as far as companies go, but Facebook really seems to be going out of its way to lead the pack. As far as I'm concerned, we shut it down. Would anyone really miss it?

17 Oct 2018 10:49pm GMT

Interface Hall of Shame: QuickTime 4.0 Player

Let me take you back to 25 May, 1999.

One look at QuickTime 4.0 Player and one must wonder whether Apple, arguably the most zealous defender of consistency in user interface design, has abandoned its twenty-year effort to champion interface standards. As with IBM's RealThings, it would seem that appearance has taken precedence to the basic principles of graphical interface design. In an effort to achieve what some consider to be a more modern appearance, Apple has removed the very interface clues and subtleties that allowed us to learn how to use GUI in the first place. Window borders, title bars, window management controls, meaningful control labels, state indicators, focus indicators, default control indicators, and discernible keyboard access mechanisms are all gone. According to IBM's RealThings, and apparently to Apple, such items and the meaningful information they provide are merely "visual noise and clutter". While the graphical designer may be pleased with the result, the user is left in a state of confusion: unable to determine which objects are controls, which are available at any point in the interaction, how they are activated, where they may be located, and how basic functions can be performed.

Looking back, QuickTime 4.0 Player really signaled the end of proper GUI design at Apple. Up until that point, Apple had refined what became known as Platinum to a T - it was a beautifully consistent, logical, easy to use, and pleasant to look at UI. After introducing the world to 'brushed metal', Apple slowly slid downhill - and they've never been able to recover.

Fascinating to look back and read articles such as these, almost 20 years later.

17 Oct 2018 10:45pm GMT

feedArs Technica

Report: Former top Waymo engineer altered code to go on “forbidden routes”

The New Yorker releases blockbuster story about Waymo's origins.

17 Oct 2018 7:34pm GMT

How did Easter Islanders survive without wells or streams?

The ancient Rapanui captured fresh groundwater where it seeped into the sea.

17 Oct 2018 6:25pm GMT

feedOSNews

The new Palm is a tiny phone you can't buy separetely

There's a new phone with the word "Palm" on it that's tiny, intriguing, and has very little to do with Palm beyond that word printed on the back. It comes from a startup in San Francisco, which purchased the rights for the name from TCL last year. It costs $349.99 and will be available in November, but you can't go out and buy it on its own. It's only available as an add-on to a current line. Also, Steph Curry is somehow involved.

This is a rather interesting little device, as it seems one of the very phones focusing on being a small device that gets out of your way instead of trying to draw you in. I honestly don't understand the business model, though - who's going to buy a second $350 phone you can only get when you buy your primary phone? This seems doomed to fail, even though I'm sure there are quite a few people who'd love to buy a relatively cheap, well-designed full Android phone that isn't a surfboard.

17 Oct 2018 12:12am GMT

19 Oct 2016

feedThe Register - Software: Operating Systems

Who killed Cyanogen?

Well, it's hanging on in there, but why didn't it conquer the world?

Analysis Does European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager's team pay close attention to the tech news? If not, perhaps they should.…

19 Oct 2016 10:24am GMT

17 Oct 2016

feedThe Register - Software: Operating Systems

Bits of Google's dead Project Ara modular mobe live on in Linux 4.9

Linus Torvalds teaches devs a lesson with early rc1 release

Google may have killed off its modular smartphone Project Ara idea, but some of the code that would have made it happen looks like coming to the Linux Kernel.…

17 Oct 2016 6:58am GMT

BART barfs, racers crash, and other classic BSODs

Your weekly Windows entertainment large and small

This week's worldwide BSOD roundup starts with what looks to your writer like a virtualisation launch bug. Submitter Alexander tells us it came from Peterborough Station, in Cambridgeshire.…

17 Oct 2016 6:28am GMT

21 May 2016

feedBacarospo – Jetzt live Geld verdienen

Etoro – Social Trading geht doch?!

Die Copy Trader ist die einfache und innovative Art und Weise , Geld online mit Forex Trading zu verdienen. Es ist ein gültiges und weithin bewährte System , gefolgt von vielen kleinen Investoren auf der ganzen Welt. Leider ist in Italien, sind sie so gut wie unbekannt diese Spiegel Handelssysteme oder Programme, mit denen Sie […]

21 May 2016 4:05pm GMT

28 Jun 2015

feedPlanet Sun

PicoChess 0.43 released

This is just a short hint for all fans of chess programs. PicoChess 0.43 has been released. Announced by J. Precour from ascent ag. If you are interested in chess and picochess, please visit PicoChess by LocutusOfPenguin. Home of a dedicated chess computer based on tiny ARM computers in conjunction with the DGT e-board. Go […]

28 Jun 2015 11:02pm 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

10 Nov 2011

feedLifehacker

Today’s Lifehacker Workout: The Deck of Cards [Video]

Click here to read Today’s Lifehacker Workout: The Deck of Cards

It's Wednesday, which means another Deck of Cards workout, the fun yet challenging segment of our group exercise program, The Lifehacker Workout. More »


10 Nov 2011 1:15am GMT

iPad Home Screens, Remote Troubleshooting, and Gmail Tasks [From The Tips Box]

Click here to read iPad Home Screens, Remote Troubleshooting, and Gmail Tasks

Readers offer their best tips for previewing your iPad home screen from another app, troubleshooting your friends and family's computers from far away, and accessing Google Tasks in the new Gmail layout. More »


10 Nov 2011 1:00am GMT

Facebook Brings Back the Old "Most Recent" News Feed Option (But It's Kind of Hidden) [Updates]

Click here to read Facebook Brings Back the Old "Most Recent" News Feed Option (But It's Kind of Hidden)

Facebook recently changed its layout, no longer allowing you to choose between "top stories" and "most recent" stories. Due to user outcry, however, they announced today that they'll be changing it back, though you might not notice it at first. Here's how it works. More »


10 Nov 2011 12:30am GMT

06 Nov 2011

feedPlanet Arch Linux

Tyrs a Microblogging Client based on Ncurses

Tyrs is a microblogging client, supporting Twitter and Status.net (identi.ca), it's based on console using the NCurses module from Python. The release of the 0.5.0 version is a good excuse to introduce Tyrs. Tyrs aims to get a good interaction with a fairly intuitive interface that can provide support ncurses. Tyrs tries also not to [...]

06 Nov 2011 9:43pm GMT

05 Nov 2011

feedPlanet Arch Linux

Pulling strings

After one year of managing a network of 10 servers with Cfengine I'm currently building two clusters of 50 servers with Puppet (which I'm using for the first time), and have various notes to share. With my experience I had a feeling Cfengine just isn't right for this project, and didn't consider it seriously. These servers are all running Debian GNU/Linux and Puppet felt natural because of the good Debian integration, and the number of users whom also produced a lot of resources. Chef was out of the picture soon because of the scary architecture; CouchDB, Solr and RabbitMQ... coming from Cfengine this seemed like a bad joke. You probably need to hire a Ruby developer when it breaks. Puppet is somewhat better in this regard.

Puppet master needs Ruby, and has a built-in file server using WEBrick. My first disappointment with Puppet was WEBrick. Though PuppetLabs claim you can scale it up to 20 servers, that proved way off, the built-in server has problems serving as little as 5 agents/servers, and you get to see many dropped connections and failed catalog transfers. I was forced to switch to Mongrel and Nginx as frontend very early in the project, on both clusters. This method works much better (even though Apache+Passenger is the recommended method now from PuppetLabs), and it's not a huge complication compared to WEBrick (and Cfengine which doesn't make you jump through any hoops). Part of the reason for this failure is my pull interval, which is 5 minutes with a random sleep time of up to 3 minutes to avoid harmonics (which is still a high occurrence with these intervals and WEBrick fails miserably). In production a customer can not wait on 30/45 minute pull intervals to get his IP address whitelisted for a service, or some other mundane task, it must happen within 10 minutes... but I'll come to these kind of unrealistic ideas a little later.

Unlike the Cfengine article I have no bootstrapping notes, and no code/modules to share. By default the fresh started puppet agent will look for a host called "puppet" and pull in what ever you defined to bootstrap servers in your manifests. As for modules, I wrote a ton of code and though I'd like to share it, my employer owns it. But unlike Cfengine v3 there's a lot of resources out there for Puppet which can teach you everything you need to know, so I don't feel obligated to even ask.

Interesting enough, published modules would not help you get your job done. You will have to write your own, and your team members will have to learn how to use your modules, which also means writing a lot of documentation. Maybe my biggest disappointment is getting disillusioned by most Puppet advocates and DevOps prophets. I found articles and modules most of them write, and experiences they share have nothing to do with the real world. It's like they host servers in a magical land where everything is done in one way and all servers are identical. Hosting big websites and their apps is a much, much different affair.

Every customer does things differently, and I had to write custom modules for each of them. Just between these two clusters a module managing Apache is different, and you can abstract your code a lot but you reach a point where you simply can't push it any more. Or if you can, you create a mess that is unusable by your team members, and I'm trying to make their jobs better not make them miserable. One customer uses an Isilon NAS, the other has a content distribution network, one uses Nginx as a frontend, other has chrooted web servers, one writes logs to a NFS, other to a Syslog cluster... Now imagine this on a scale with 2,000 customers and 3 times the servers and most of the published infrastructure design guidelines become laughable. Instead you find your self implementing custom solutions, and inventing your own rules, best that you can...

I'm ultimately here to tell you that the projects are in a better state then they would be with the usual cluster management policy. My best moment was an e-mail from a team member saying "I read the code, I now understand it [Puppet]. This is fucking awesome!". I knew at that moment I managed to build something good (or good enough), despite the shortcomings I found, and with nothing more than using PuppetLabs resources. Actually, that is not completely honest. Because I did buy and read the book Pro Puppet which contains an excellent chapter on using Git for collaboration on modules between sysadmins and developers, with proper implementation of development, testing and production (Puppet)environments.

05 Nov 2011 11:17pm GMT

Jshon

Creating json is now ten times easier.

05 Nov 2011 3:10am 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