23 May 2019

feedArs Technica

Las Vegas tourism board approves $48.6 million deal with The Boring Company

One dissenting vote from the board based on the company's lack of experience.

23 May 2019 2:48pm GMT

Linda Hamilton is back and buff as ever in Terminator: Dark Fate trailer

New film touted as a sequel to the original Terminator and T2: Judgement Day

23 May 2019 2:42pm GMT

feedSlashdot

Veteran Software Developer Panic Unveils Playdate Handheld Game Player

Veteran software developer firm Panic, which has made its name through high-end Mac software as well as titles such as Firewatch, is expanding its work in games and moving in a very unexpected direction. This week, Panic unveiled Playdate, a tiny, yellow Game Boy-like device with a black-and-white screen, a few chunky buttons, and... a hand crank for controlling quirky games. From a report: Playdate is adorable and exciting and fun and technically impressive. They're making their own hardware (in conjunction with Swedish device makers Teenage Engineering). They wrote their own OS (there's no Linux). It has a high resolution 400 x 240 black and white display with no backlighting. It has a crank. It's going to cost only $149 -- $149! -- and that includes a "season" of 12 games from an amazing roster of beloved video game creators, delivered every Monday for 12 weeks. The idea of a new upstart, a company the size of Panic -- with only software experience at that -- jumping into the hardware game with a brand new platform harkens back to the '80s and '90s. But even back then, a company like, say, General Magic or Palm, was VC-backed and aspired to be a titan. To be the next Atari or Commodore or Apple. In today's world all the new computing devices and platforms come from huge companies. Apple of course. All the well-known Android handset makers building off an OS provided by Google. Sony. Nintendo. Panic is almost cheating in a way because they're tiny. The Playdate platform isn't competing with the state of the art. It's not a retro platform, per se, but while it has an obviously nostalgic charm it is competing only on its own terms. Its only goal is to be fun. And aspects of Playdate are utterly modern: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, apps and software updates delivered over-the-air. They're taking advantage of an aspect of today's world that is brand new -- the Asian supply chain, the cheapness of Asian manufacturing, the cheapness of CPU and GPU cycles that allows things like Raspberry Pi to cost just $35.

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23 May 2019 2:11pm GMT

China Surveillance Tycoons Lose Billions From Threat of US Sanctions

schwit1 shares a report from Bloomberg: The billionaires behind Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. and Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co. have watched their combined fortunes sink by more than $8 billion since March 2018 as shares of both companies sank on speculation of potential U.S. sanctions. The losses deepened on Wednesday after reports that Donald Trumps administration is considering blacklisting the surveillance giants, in part because of their alleged role in human rights violations. Hikvision Vice Chairman Gong Hongjia, whose fortune peaked at $13 billion in November 2017, is now worth about $6 billion after the stock fell as much as 10% on Wednesday, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Dahua Chairman Fu Liquans net worth has dropped to $1.9 billion from $4.3 billion in March 2018. Hopefully the same happens to U.S. surveillance tycoons.

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23 May 2019 1:00pm GMT

feedArs Technica

Staffsource: Ars staffers share their favorite books to get lost in this summer

We guarantee some of our favorite tomes will end up on your summer TBR.

23 May 2019 11:46am GMT

feedSlashdot

Significantly Large New Emissions From Banned CFCs Traced To China, Say Scientists

Solandri writes: In 2014, scientists began detecting plumes of CFC-11 in the atmosphere. The compound had been banned in the 1987 Montreal Protocol after it was discovered that it was contributing to the destruction of the ozone layer that protects life on Earth from ultraviolet radiation. Unfortunately, the releases were detected using global monitoring equipment, so the origin could not be determined. Using data from measuring stations in Korea and Japan, and computer modeling of atmospheric patterns, researchers have now pinned down the source of the emissions to eastern China. They also determined that the emissions were too large to be releases from foam which had been produced before the ban (CFCs were a common aerosol and foaming agent). And that the amounts most likely indicate new illegal production. The paper is published in the latest issue of Nature. dryriver shares an excerpt from the BBC: CFC-11 was primarily used for home insulation but global production was due to be phased out in 2010 [to allow the Ozone layer to heal]. CFC-11 was the second most abundant CFCs and was initially seen to be declining as expected. However in 2018 a team of researchers monitoring the atmosphere found that the rate of decline had slowed by about 50% after 2012. That team reasoned that they were seeing new production of the gas, coming from East Asia. The authors of that paper argued that if the sources of new production weren't shut down, it could delay the healing of the ozone layer by a decade. Further detective work in China by the Environmental Investigation Agency in 2018 seemed to indicate that the country was indeed the source. They found that the illegal chemical was used in the majority of the polyurethane insulation produced by firms they contacted. One seller of CFC-11 estimated that 70% of China's domestic sales used the illegal gas. The reason was quite simple -- CFC-11 is better quality and much cheaper than the alternatives. This new paper seems to confirm beyond any reasonable doubt that some 40-60% of the increase in emissions is coming from provinces in north eastern China. The authors also say that these CFCs are also very potent greenhouse gases. One ton of CFC-11 is equivalent to around 5,000 tons of CO2. "If we look at these extra emissions that we've identified from eastern China, it equates to about 35 million tons of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere every year, that's equivalent to about 10% of UK emissions, or similar to the whole of London."

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23 May 2019 10:00am GMT

19 Jan 2018

feedEcoGeek

A series of other thoughts about NAIAS 2018

Let's start out with my in-the-moment string of notes during the Press Preview at this year's NAIAS (Detroit Auto Show). This covers the main ideas about this year's program at the time. I'll add a few more comments and expanded thoughts at the end. Not sure if it's an actual color trend, but there's a […]

19 Jan 2018 5:32am GMT

10 Jan 2017

feedEcoGeek

The Surprising Green Lining at 2017 NAIAS

For an EcoGeek, there were many surprises at the 2017 edition of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). We've been watching the emphasis on green cars decline for a number of years. Some of that is in the mainstreaming of more efficient vehicles, with increased fuel efficiency standards, greater numbers of hybrid vehicles, and […]

10 Jan 2017 2:42pm 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

31 Mar 2016

feedEcoGeek

Flow Batteries for Household Power Storage

Residential power storage options are starting to get more competitive with a flow battery being introduced to the market in Australia. Flow batteries have been something we've looked at for grid-scale storage, and the research into the technology has been making advances. But it has been primarily a utility-scale technology. However, the technology has been […]

31 Mar 2016 5:45pm 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

09 Nov 2011

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

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