24 Nov 2020

feedSlashdot

Zoomquilt

This 2004 project is garnering interest from users who have found it for the first time. You might also like Zoomquilt2, from 2007, and Arkadia, from 2015.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

24 Nov 2020 10:40pm GMT

'I Should Have Loved Biology'

James Somers, in a long essay: I should have loved biology but I found it to be a lifeless recitation of names: the Golgi apparatus and the Krebs cycle; mitosis, meiosis; DNA, RNA, mRNA, tRNA. In the textbooks, astonishing facts were presented without astonishment. Someone probably told me that every cell in my body has the same DNA. But no one shook me by the shoulders, saying how crazy that was. I needed Lewis Thomas, who wrote in The Medusa and the Snail: "For the real amazement, if you wish to be amazed, is this process. You start out as a single cell derived from the coupling of a sperm and an egg; this divides in two, then four, then eight, and so on, and at a certain stage there emerges a single cell which has as all its progeny the human brain. The mere existence of such a cell should be one of the great astonishments of the earth. People ought to be walking around all day, all through their waking hours calling to each other in endless wonderment, talking of nothing except that cell." I wish my high school biology teacher had asked the class how an embryo could possibly differentiate -- and then paused to let us really think about it. The whole subject is in the answer to that question. A chemical gradient in the embryonic fluid is enough of a signal to slightly alter the gene expression program of some cells, not others; now the embryo knows "up" from "down"; cells at one end begin producing different proteins than cells at the other, and these, in turn, release more refined chemical signals; ...; soon, you have brain cells and foot cells. How come we memorized chemical formulas but didn't talk about that? It was only in college, when I read Douglas Hofstadter's Godel, Escher, Bach, that I came to understand cells as recursively self-modifying programs. The language alone was evocative. It suggested that the embryo -- DNA making RNA, RNA making protein, protein regulating the transcription of DNA into RNA -- was like a small Lisp program, with macros begetting macros begetting macros, the source code containing within it all of the instructions required for life on Earth. Could anything more interesting be imagined? [...]

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

24 Nov 2020 10:01pm GMT

Apple Security Chief Maintains Innocence After Bribery Charges

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A grand jury in California's Santa Clara County has indicted Thomas Moyer, Apple's head of global security, for bribery. Moyer is accused of offering 200 iPads to the Santa County Sheriff's office in exchange for concealed carry permits for four Apple employees. Moyer's attorney says that he did nothing wrong, and notably Apple is standing behind its executive. "We expect all of our employees to conduct themselves with integrity," an Apple spokesperson said in a statement. "After learning of the allegations, we conducted a thorough internal investigation and found no wrongdoing." Also indicted were two officials in the office of Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith. These officials are accused of soliciting the alleged bribe. California law gives sheriffs broad discretion to decide who gets permits to carry concealed weapons in the state. Smith has previously faced accusations that her office deliberately withheld permits to carry concealed weapons until applicants did favors for Smith. A June investigation by NBC Bay Area found that donors to Smith's re-election campaign were 14 times more likely to get concealed carry permits than those who didn't donate. A press release from Smith's office described the indictments as "a difficult time for our organization." Jeff Rosen, the Santa Clara district attorney responsible for the indictments, said that the donation of 200 iPads was scuttled at the last minute after Rosen obtained a search warrant in the case. According to LinkedIn, Moyer is responsible for "strategic management of Apple's corporate and retail security, crisis management, executive protection, investigations and new product secrecy." While two individuals in Sheriff Smith's office were indicted, no charges have been filed against Smith herself. Rosen says the investigation is ongoing. A common prosecutorial strategy is to focus on lower-ranking employees first in order to pressure them to provide evidence against their boss.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

24 Nov 2020 10:00pm GMT

feedArs Technica

CDC celebrates Biden transition, expects “rebuilding,” more press briefings

"This is what we've been waiting for," senior CDC official says.

24 Nov 2020 8:29pm GMT

SpaceX Starlink engineers take questions in Reddit AMA—here are highlights

Expanded beta is coming in January, and there's no plan for data caps.

24 Nov 2020 7:18pm GMT

Apple security chief maintains innocence after bribery charges

Sheriff's office allegedly sought 200 iPads in trade for concealed carry permits.

24 Nov 2020 6:33pm 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

10 Nov 2011

feedEcoGeek

Turning Commercial Jets into Hybrids


A company called WheelTug has devised a way for commercial airplanes to run on electricity at slow speeds, much like a hybrid vehicle does.

The WheelTug system includes a pair of electric motors embedded in an airplane's nose wheel which provide power for backing the plane away from the gate and for taxiing up to 28 mph. The electricity for the motors is provided by the auxiliary power unit of the plane, a small engine located at the back of the aircraft used for running lights and the ventilation system when the main engines are off.

The auxiliary power unit uses only about half a gallon of fuel per minute compared to two gallons per minute for each of the main engines. The WheelTug allows a plane to taxi without use of the main engines and to back from the gate without the help of a diesel-fueled tug, cutting down significantly on fuel use while a plane is on the ground.

Another advantage to creating hybrid jets is that planes will spend less time on the ground since they won't have to wait for a tug. Also, by running the main engines less, engines will sustain less damage.

The company has just signed a deal to outfit 20 El Al jets with the system and hopes to get certification from European and American aviation regulators by early 2013.

via NY Times Green Blog

10 Nov 2011 6:29pm GMT

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

09 Nov 2011

feedEcoGeek

California Hits 1 Gigawatt of Rooftop Solar


According to a new report by Environment California, a major solar power milestone has been reached in the state: it is now home to 1 gigawatt's-worth of rooftop solar power. To put that into perspective, only five countries have hit the 1 GW mark in solar power so far: Germany, Spain, Japan, Italy and the Czech Republic.

The electricity produced by rooftop solar power installations in California now equals two coal-fired power plants and could power 750,000 homes.

The solar installations include new and existing homes and commercial buildings, and panels connected to the grid by both large utilities and smaller municipal utilities.

The report gives most of the credit to a statewide rooftop solar incentive program called the California Solar Initiative. The initiative is responsible for 600 MW of installed solar power in the state.

via Mercury News

09 Nov 2011 7:59pm GMT

feedOSNews

Barnes & Noble Asks DoJ to Investigate Microsoft's Patent Trolling

To anyone who has been reading anything on the web over the past few months, this shouldn't come as a surprise. Barnes & Noble is currently embroiled in a patent lawsuit started by Microsoft, after the bookseller/tablet maker refused to pay protection money to Redmond. Barnes & Noble has now openly said what we already knew, and has filed an official complaint at the US Department of Justice: Microsoft is engaging in anticompetitive practices.

09 Nov 2011 4:13pm GMT

Adobe: HTML5 > Mobile Flash

"Sources close to Adobe that have been briefed on the company's future development plans have revealed this forthcoming announcement to ZDNet: Our future work with Flash on mobile devices will be focused on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores. We will no longer adapt Flash Player for mobile devices to new browser, OS version or device configurations.. . ."

09 Nov 2011 6:34am GMT

08 Nov 2011

feedOSNews

Fedora 16 Released

"The following are major features for Fedora 16: enhanced cloud support including Aeolus Conductor, Condor Cloud, HekaFS, OpenStack and pacemaker-cloud; KDE Plasma workspaces 4.7; GNOME 3.2; a number of core system improvements including GRUB 2 and the removal of HAL; an updated libvirtd, trusted boot, guest inspection, virtual lock manager and a pvops based kernel for Xen all improve virtualization support."

08 Nov 2011 10:45pm GMT

feedEcoGeek

Facebook Adding Solar Power to New Headquarters


Facebook, a company that so far hasn't done much in the "green" arena, is incorporating a nice-sized solar power system into their new headquarters.

The cogeneration system, which is being built by Cogenra Solar, will include both solar PV and solar hot water heating and have far greater efficiency than just a solar PV system alone. The 24-module system will reside on the roof of a 10,000 square foot fitness center, providing electricity for the fitness machines and hot water for the showers. The system will have a capacity of 10 kW of electricity and about 50 kW of thermal energy.

Facebook sees this as their initial investment in solar power and hopes to expand the system later on to include powering and heating other parts of the campus, like the cafes.

via Crisp Green

08 Nov 2011 8:34pm 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

01 Jan 2009

feedLinux.com :: Features

A new year, a new Linux.com

Many of you have commented that our NewsVac section hasn't been refreshed since the middle of last month. Others have noticed that our story volume has dropped off. Changes are coming to Linux.com, and until they arrive, you won't see any new stories on the site.

01 Jan 2009 2:00pm GMT

31 Dec 2008

feedLinux.com :: Features

Android-powered G1 phone is an enticing platform for app developers

The free and open source software community has been waiting for the G1 cell phone since it was first announced in July. Source code for Google's Android mobile platform has been available, but the G1 marks its commercial debut. It's clearly a good device, but is it what Linux boosters and FOSS advocates have long been anticipating?

31 Dec 2008 2:00pm GMT

30 Dec 2008

feedLinux.com :: Features

Municipalities open their GIS systems to citizens

Many public administrations already use open source Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to let citizens look at public geographic data trough dedicated Web sites. Others use the same software to partially open the data gathering process: they let citizens directly add geographic information to the official, high-quality GIS databases by drawing or clicking on digital maps.

30 Dec 2008 2:00pm GMT