kriston writes "This is an email sent to myOpenID.com users this afternoon.
I wanted to reach out personally to let you know that we have made the decision to end of life the myOpenID service. myOpenID will be turned off on February 1, 2014.
In 2006 Janrain created myOpenID to fulfill our vision to make registration and login easier on the web for people. Since that time, social networks and email providers such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn and Yahoo! have embraced open identity standards. And now, billions of people who have created accounts with these services can use their identities to easily register and login to sites across the web in the way myOpenID was intended.
By 2009 it had become obvious that the vast majority of consumers would prefer to utilize an existing identity from a recognized provider rather than create their own myOpenID account. As a result, our business focus changed to address this desire, and we introduced social login technology. While the technology is slightly different from where we were in 2006, I’m confident that we are still delivering on our initial promise – that people should take control of their online identity and are empowered to carry those identities with them as they navigate the web.
For those of you who still actively use myOpenID, I can understand your disappointment to hear this news and apologize if this causes you any inconvenience. To reduce this inconvenience, we are delaying the end of life of the service until February 1, 2014 to give you time to begin using other identities on those sites where you use myOpenID today.
Speaking on behalf of Janrain, I truly appreciate your past support of myOpenID.
kriston writes "Reuters is reporting that France is considering cutting back on nuclear power. France went so big on nuclear they are a net exporter of nuclear-generated electricity which has caused severe economic and logistical problems. That's part of the reason they are cutting back. Is the other premise of this article that considers a nuclear engineering career crisis somewhat overblown?" Link to Original Source top
kriston writes "CNNMoney is reporting that Microsoft has invested a 17.6% stake in Barnes & Noble's Nook business unit, valuing the e-book business at $1.7 billion which is twice the value of the entire Barnes & Noble company itself." Link to Original Source top
Starting at 12:47AM PDT on April 21st, there was a service disruption (for a period of a few hours up to a few days) for Amazon EC2 and Amazon RDS that primarily involved a subset of the Amazon Elastic Block Store (“EBS”) volumes in a single Availability Zone within our US East Region. You can read our detailed summary of the event here: http://aws.amazon.com/message/65648
We’ve identified that you had an attached EBS volume or a running RDS database instance in the affected Availability Zone at the time of the disruption. Regardless of whether your resources and application were impacted, we are going to provide a 10 day credit (for the period 4/18-4/27) equal to 100% of your usage of EBS Volumes, EC2 Instances and RDS database instances that were running in the affected Availability Zone. This credit will be automatically applied to your April bill, and you don’t need to do anything to receive it. You can see your service credit by logging into your AWS Account Activity page after you receive your upcoming billing statement.
Last, but certainly not least, we want to apologize. We know how critical the services we provide are to our customers’ businesses and we will do everything we can to learn from this event and use it to drive improvement across our services.
Sincerely, The Amazon Web Services Team
This message was produced and distributed by Amazon Web Services, LLC, 410 Terry Avenue North, Seattle, Washington 98109-5210" Link to Original Source top
kriston writes "The Cherrypal Asia laptop at http://www.cherrypal.com/ is now shipping with Google Android installed. This replaces the older Cherrypal Asia mini laptops that were running Windows CE and Linux based. Both laptops run the ARM9-based VIA 8505 SoIC platform at 533 MHz with 256 megabytes of RAM and 2 gigabytes of NAND flash. The $148 version has a 1024x600 screen while the sub-$100 model runs 800x480. I'm looking forward to seeing how Android can squeeze more throughput out of the VIA 8505 since Windows CE didn't do such a great job on the original Cherrypal Asia." Link to Original Source top
kriston writes "Like servers running non-ECC memory, Toyota's recall problems could be caused by cosmic rays creating memory errors according to this article from LiveScience.com." Link to Original Source top
kriston writes "I have lots of MP3 players, mobile phones, video devices, and game controllers. All of them can plug into USB sockets, but a curious few simply refuse to charge. The chief offenders are Motorola phones, Creative MP3 players, and most annoyingly, the Sony PlayStation 3 controllerss. Simply putting +5V at 500 mA on the port is not getting these things to charge. What is the magic secret ingredient these chargers have that make these USB devices start charging?" Link to Original Source top
kriston writes "Searching data on a shared volume is tedious. If I try to use a Windows desktop search engine on a volume with hundreds of gigabytes the indexing process takes days and the search results are slow and unsatisfying. I'm thinking of an agent that runs on the server that regularly indexes and talks to the desktop machines running the search interface. How do you integrate your desktop search application with your remote file server without forcing each desktop to index the hundred gigabyte volume on its own?" top
kriston writes "FCC approves the Sirius takeover of XM Satellite Radio in a 3-2 vote Friday night. They won't be required to include HD Radio but they must pay $19 million in fines for repeater anomalies, set aside 8% of their channels for public interests and minorities, and maintain a price cap for three years. The final vote was from Deborah Taylor Tate and she cast it when the companies agreed to the fines." Link to Original Source
The Dell XPS 12 Ultrabook has a number of problems that require too much attention. Perhaps that's why I bought one new today for over $400 off list price. This Ultrabook has a 12.5" 1920x1080 screen, touch screen, Intel Core i5, 4 gigs of memory, 128 GB SSD, and has a nifty screen flipping feature so you can use it like a tablet.
Here are a few problems so far.
The keyboard is bad and the keys stick up unevenly. Normally this isn't a problem but the white LED backlighting points out to you which keys are jutting out. It's okay to type on but I prefer to flip it into tablet mode and plugging in a tenkeyless mechanical keyboard.
More importantly, the touch screen can stop working. What happens is the two I2C HID Devices under Human Interface Devices are disabled by Windows because it "detected a problem." This happens randomly but most often when coming back from sleep. I got used to the touch screen, especially in tablet mode, so I'm not sure I want this feature disabled. Simply doing 'Scan for hardware changes" in the "Action" window will re-enable them but they will eventually stop working again. So updating the BIOS should fix this. The BIOS update from Dell from A03 to A04 updates the BIOS, another Intel firmware (likely the touchpad's firmware since it's an Intel device), and a third firmware, and reboots. Following this, updating the touchpad drivers from Dell should do the trick and I will be watching this for success.
Finally, updating to Windows 8.1 complains that my user is not an Administrator. Well, this is, of course, incorrect. What I did to fix this is to remove the Windows Update 2871389 from the system, reboot (takes a long time), run Windows Update and install updates again, reboot (again takes a long time), and then go back to the App Store to download it again. Finally, now I'm waiting for over three gigabytes to download.
The screen is beautiful and it's too bad Dell and Intel didn't test this Ultrabook enough. They must have lost a ton of money on this model. My local store had around 25 new in stock at fire-sale clearance prices. You can't get a 12.5" 1920x1080 Ultrabook at anything near this price, let alone a Core i5 with 4 gigabytes of memory, 128 GB SSD, and a "carbon fiber" case, whatever that means. Just make sure you have the patience and problem-solving skills to work out the problems.
Windows Experience Index details (before Windows 8.1): Processor 6.9 Memory 5.9 (bummer) Graphics 5.7 (Flunky Intel graphics) Gaming Graphics 6.5 (Flunky Intel graphics) Disk 8.1 (Superb!!).
A great value for a new Ultrabook over $400 off the list price. Too bad for Dell's profits on this troublesome Ultrabook.
I was doing some reverse-engineering of my Nook Color with Cyanogenmod just to see where they store the data for Angry Birds. Most of the configuration stuff is in Lua, which is interesting, but I also noticed that the shared objects have copious help text and even documentation inside them which would never be seen by the end user. These are space-, memory-, and cpu-constrained devices. Why aren't these data stripped out?
This evening I'm building OpenJDK 7 for FreeBSD and it requires me to install an older version of Java to build this version of Java. It reminds me of when we would use the Solaris compiler to build a nominal version of gcc and then use that gcc to build gcc again, and then use the built gcc to build the final gcc a third time.
Years ago I got into the habit of taking handwritten notes and scanning them into the computer. I then have a digital record and no paper lying around to get lost, stolen, or cluttered.
A problem has arisen with this recently. Late-model multi-function copiers like the Xerox ColorQube scan at such a high resolution and sensitivity that they capture not just the handwritten notes but the texture of the paper. This is extremely annoying because all I want is the writing, of course, and even the "Remove Background" feature of the Xerox ColorQube just doesn't.
So, for the time being, here is a cheap way to remove backgrounds. Load the scanned document into your favorite editor and reduce it to sixteen color palette.
For example, in Paint Shop Pro 4, my favorite for quick-and-dirty fixes, select Colors...Decrease Color Depth...16 Colors and select "Palette Windows'" then "Nearest color" and finally "OK." This magically removes the background noise and so far it has worked on nearly everything I scan.
Be sure you do this after scaling down your image. PSP 4 calls this "Resample" which, by the way, is the only correct way to resize an image in PSP 4.
Forget CentOS, who are taking too long with 6.x. Amazon AWS with Red Hat Linux 6.1 for $0.085/hour for t1.small is excellent and $0.02/hour for t1.micro is even more excellent for high-availability services.
For file backup services, the S3 reduced-redundancy storage for $0.093/GB is a steal, but make sure you convert your storage buckets to RRS. The Windows Home Server plugin does not set RRS so use an Amazon EC2 instance to run convert_to_rrs.py and quickly convert your bucket to RRS for big savings. The AWS console won't work on huge buckets, nor do the popular Windows-based S3 tools. This might cancel out some of the savings.
Do you want to kick-start Windows 7 updates for a computer you've built or set up for someone else? This is what I do and it mitigates the threats to newly-installed machines. It installs certain libraries and other dependencies that trigger Windows Update to give you the latest and greatest. You can let the user do the Service Pack updates at a later time. In this situation we are bootstrapping the update process for most of the important libraries and software you care about without buying Microsoft Office and installing the most important updates before you leave the user to his own devices.
Download and install the following software in this order on another PC and put them on a USB drive. Do not connect your new computer to the internet yet. Run these installers in this order. Nothing should ask you to reboot, but if it does, let it reboot and continue with the next one.
Microsoft Word Viewer 2003 (the latest is Word 2003). Microsoft Visio Viewer Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer 2007 Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer 2007 SP1 Update Microsoft Excel Viewer 2007 Microsoft File Format Converters Microsoft DirectX Redist Microsoft.NET 3.5 SP1 (Windows Vista and XP Only, x86 and x64 are in the same download) Microsoft.NET 4.0 Full (x86 and x64 are in the same download) Microsoft Security Essentials
Restart your computer. Go to the Windows Update control panel, click "Check for updates," and then install all of the Required and Optional ones. After you're done with all this, go to the Windows Update control panel and ask it to install "for all Microsoft products". This is somewhat more difficult to find. Go to Windows Update and hit "Check for updates" again and install everything.
Note that Microsoft.NET 3.5 SP1 includes.NET 2.x and 1.x inside it. Windows 7 has 3.5 SP1 built in already. Windows Vista may or may not depending how old it is.
The Cherrypal Asia laptop at http://www.cherrypal.com/ is now shipping with Google Android installed. This replaces the older Cherrypal Asia mini laptops that were running Windows CE and Linux based. Both laptops run the ARM9-based VIA 8505 SoIC platform at 533 MHz with 256 megabytes of RAM and 2 gigabytes of NAND flash. The $148 version has a 1024x600 screen while the sub-$100 model runs 800x480. I'm looking forward to seeing how Android can squeeze more throughput out of the VIA 8505 since Windows CE didn't do such a great job on the original Cherrypal Asia.
[Reposted from Newegg because I'm proud of my review.]
Blurb: "Great feel and nice loud sound, but not a Model M clone"
Pros: Loud, ringing reverberation is just like keyboards of old PC clones not made by IBM (see Cons). The keyboard is only a little larger than the keys take up. This is a major bonus if you like small keyboards but don't want to compromise on keys. FULL SIZE caps lock key for Unix people who remap CTRL to caps lock. This is rather rare on any keyboard (and I am still searching for a Model M clone with full-sized caps lock either). The keyboard is nice and heavy as nature intended, with amazing, grippy rubber feet (and really good rubber on the risers, too, also rare). Stiff, solid, and a very tasteful matte black finish that isn't painted on (the plastic is black).
Cons: The case reverberates a bit with a ring. Your table may amplify or muffle it. I don't happen to care but you might. This is not a Lexmark Model M keyboard clone and does not pretend to be. The reviewers who think this is a Model M are confusing this with another type of old-school "clicky" keyboard.
Other Thoughts: This type of keyboard is not the same as a Model M. The clicking noise comes from the keys landing, not from the (very faint) click in the key mechanisms themselves. However, the click happens at the moment of keystroke actuation which gives this a nice touch. I didn't feel any of the "halfway down" actuation some other reviewers claimed.
This keyboard is an excellent a clone of those "other" clicky keyboards that came with Compaq IBM PC clones in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I have about twenty real IBM/Lexmark Model M keyboards in various states of repair. Those boards click loudly as the key is struck and also when the key hits the back plate. This one only really clicks when it hits the back plate. If you had a PC clone in the late 1980s or early 1990s you know this feel. I think some people call it the "Cherry" feel. It's not better or worse than the Lexmark Model M; it is just different.
The unit is a very small and light, slightly customized version of those $100 laptops that have been spreading across Asia for the past year or so. The model I ordered runs Windows CE 6.0 and a suite of custom installed programs like various media players and document viewers. The Youtube application does not work but the rest work fine. The machine is rather slow but it browses the web just fine. The word processor is also good. Some applications are formatted for Pocket PC (the menu bar is on the bottom instead of the top) but Windows CE users are used to this. A benchmark I ran says 200 MHz but I believe that speed is actually due to power management which is always adjusting the CPU speed based on your usage of the unit.
My unit came with some nasty glue that I had to clean off, presumably from stickers that were removed from the original manufacturer. The Cherrypal brand stickers are coming off, too.
I had to order this thing four different times. The credit card processor changed each time, too, but no money was stolen from me. The Cherrypal people say the delays and strange circumstances were due to hacking attempts but my own observations make me speculate that too many customers complained to the credit card ordering processor which caused Cherrypal's account to be terminated for undelivered goods. I persisted through four different ordering processors since December of 2009 and eventually got my unit in late March 2010.
When you order the Cherrypal Africa you are not guaranteed any particular processor type, memory, or screen size, just the minimum specs. This means that your processor can be ARM, MIPS, some x86 variant, or maybe even a PowerPC. Most people seem to have gotten what I have, which is a "VIA" ARM-VT8500 and I'm not really sure if that's the real "VIA" from Taiwan. It also has 128 meg of ram, WiFi, and 2 gigabytes of NAND flash.
In conclusion, I expected what I had received, which is an extremely basic laptop. One thing I didn't expect though was that the "Windows XP" spec was changed to just "Windows" when I had originally ordered it. If I had realized that it is Windows CE I would have ordered the Linux version instead.
OpenOffice, the free desktop office application suite, is almost totally compatible with Microsoft Office. It does not support *.docx files and other proprietary (non-free) elements that are needed to share documents with users of Microsoft Office. Novell has solved this with their own version of OpenOffice but it is only for Windows and SuSE Linux. For Fedora users the Go-OO version can be used. Go-OO is the special version of OpenOffice with the non-free elements which Novell's version is also derived from. It should be noted that Fedora's version of OpenOffice is also Go-OO with the non-free portions stripped out.
The challenge is to replace the OpenOffice that cannot be removed from Fedora with this new, enhanced Go-OO version. It's not easy because OpenOffice is a core desktop application and Fedora forbids its removal without removing about 300 other packages that make up the desktop operating system. We're going to force an installation of Go-OO on my Fedora system, uninstall the "required" OpenOffice, and then force another installation of Go-OO on top of that to get things cleaned up.
Go to http:/www.go-oo.org/ and read the documentation.
Run Go-OO's downloader script in its own directory:
mkdir GO-OO ; cd GO-OO
Forcibly install everything it downloaded:
sudo rpm --install --force *.rpm
I'm not sure why, but we bought another HP MediaSmart Windows Home Server with the intention of gifting the old one to someone else. This version is really different. Not only is the server two gigabytes of memory and uses a 64-bit CeLeron processor, it also has a large number of features that were not present in the refurbished Sempron 512-megabyte HP MediaSmart server. I'm not really sure why but this newer model has Amazon S3 backup service and a huge number of new features that aren't present on the Sempron-based version. We updated the server software on both models but only the Intel CeLeron model has the new features.
If you're going to try out Windows Home Server to automatically and effortlessly backup your Windows machines, get a non-refurbished Intel-based HP MediaSmart server. All of these new features are in the HP MediaSmart software and not WHS itself. I'm not sure why HP did this but it's eye-opening.
I'm going to try to install the Amazon S3 and other software add-ins to our older, refurbished model by doing a "factory restore" from the Server Recovery Disc that came with the non-refurbished model and see if these awesome features get installed on the older server.
Very interesting difference. It might be that the newer one has two gigabytes of memory and the other one only has 512 megabytes. It's possible the features are dependent on the memory specifications of the server, but I doubt it.
Windows Home Server has a really neat feature. Install the Windows Home Server Connector and configure it to back up your computer. In a day or so take the hard drive out of the computer and throw it into a lake. Get a new blank hard drive. Boot the computer from the Windows Home Server PC Recover disc. YOUR COMPUTER COMES BACK.
This is the killer sleeper Windows app of the new century!!
The Mozilla Flashblock plugin is getting fooled by advertisements on some sites like urbandictionary.com which use a countermeasure (seems to be iframe abuse). Installation of version 1.5.11a2 from the special link http://flashblock.mozdev.org/installation1.html solves the problem for now.
Here's the stupid thing about Cox Cable Television in the Northern VA area.
Technicians are going crazy yanking old cable off the telephone poles to install multi-wavelength fiber and switched-video-compatible boxes because they ran out of bandwidth to compete with all the HD channels that the other services, like FiOS and satellite, offer.
The stupid thing is that FiOS has the same 1 gigahertz video capacity that cable does (not including Video-on-Demand which is served by Internet on FiOS and through hidden video channels by Cox). Likewise, FiOS has twice the SD channels and HD channels without the need for switched-video to solve a perceived bandwidth problem.
This doesn't make sense. I did some digging. For now I still use cable internet so I scanned the Cox Cable signal on my HDTV and found out that nearly all of Cox Cable's SD channels are still analog. This means that most of Cox Cable's 1 gigahertz of bandwidth is consumed by analog channels at 6 MHz per channel, even though you can fit more than 10 digital channels in one analog channel if they were to use digital instead.
Why is Cox Cable spending so much money installing switched-video if all this bandwidth is available? Why isn't Cox Cable using digital for their SD channels?
Apparently the bandwidth required for Video-on-Demand is the business reason for the switched-video upgrade, but switched-video is not just for VoD. It is also used on non-VoD channels because of a system-wide bandwidth shortage on Cox Cable. This means if nobody in a neighborhood watches Food Network HD, it gets turned off until someone tunes it in again.
The cause of the problem is that Cox Cable is still using 6-MHz-per-channel analog for most SD channels.
In professional Software Engineering circles we debate topics with real-world applications. Sometimes, the debate must be aborted when a participant quotes one of the following so-called pundits. Most of them are academics or failed dot-com company founders. The key point here is that "professional Software Engineers," referring to people who make a living actually accomplishing real work on real systems.
Here is the list of Godwin's Law violations. Quoting them makes you forfeit your side of the debate:
Joel "On Software" Spolski Daniel "I always wear black" Bernstein Randal "I hacked into Intel and all I got was this felony conviction" Schwartz
[Written as a response to a LinkedIn.com question concerning the use Google and Adobe's online applications instead of Microsoft Office]
I dare suggest that the Writely and Tonic Systems applications that became Google Apps are very simple and rather slow when compared to OpenOffice.org or Microsoft Office.
The global accessibility is appealing if you are not able to use an internet file sharing service or a remote login program like LogMeIn.com but you lose a large number of important features using Google Apps and you sacrifice your personal, and more importantly, your business', privacy and security.
Finally, if you are concerned about privacy, you should know that Google's agreement reserves the right to anonymously search, index, and catalog your "private" files. This is the same thing that Google does with Gmail. While they currently only use this for targetted advertisements you should be aware that they are scanning, indexing, and cataloging all of your data.
Google exists to scan, index, and catalog the entire body of data in the world. If you like that idea, then you are contributing to it by using Google Apps. If you want to preserve your personal and business security you should not use it.
More consumer products for computing and an update.
1) Logitech Marble mouse for daily use. Kensington Expert Mouse for continuous use.
2) SIIG MiniTouch Plus PS/2 keyboard with 5-year warranty appears to be out of production but there is plenty of stock on hand at all the major retailers that report stock levels. This same keyboard is also sold as the generic BTC-5100C keyboard in either ivory or charcoal gray. The recent SIIG production models actually have "BTC-5100C" in the model number, but only the SIIG model has a 5-year warranty. The BTC version is about $15 cheaper but is only warranted through the vendor. Both brands of this fabulous sub-$40 keyboard easily trump all the $60+ Happy Hacking keyboards since they have the backspace and back-tick keys in the expected places for PC users, and the full-width caps lock key is suitable for use as your control key. The most recent models have a clean, silent feel. Earlier SIIG models have squeaky, noisy feel, which can be remedied by a warranty replacement which supplies you with the most current SIIG-branded BTC model.
3) The Hawking H-U2PS2 PS/2 to USB converter is the only PS/2 converter that properly accounts for keybounce elimination, multiple key chording, and can keep up with touch-typists. It also has special support for all the key sequences required by Sun machines.
4) Dell's cheaper flat-panel monitors. Even though these are TN panels they are clear, bright, and don't have stuck pixels.
The Linux font rendering situation has changed yet again. Here is the configuration story for 2008. This works for Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, and CentOS releases. Ubuntu has enabled these features except for the light LCD filter, so read on even if you're using Ubuntu.
Download the HEAD version in cvs at www.freetype.org or a recent snapshot. There are some new algorithms that most of the font guides out there do not address.
By the end of 2007, Freetype includes two entirely new algorithms. The first algorithm is a color sub-pixel hinting algorithm. The second is the LCD filter. This means that there are now three algorithms that are configurable in Freetype that are probably not configured properly on your system.
All of these are set in the source code at build time in the file: $TOP/freetype2/include/freetype/config/ftoption.h
1) Color-shaded sub-pixel rendering is normally disabled but you'll want to enable it even if you don't have an LCD monitor. This is the feature that is sometimes known as "ClearType" on Microsoft Windows and "Font smoothing - Best for LCDs" on MacOS. Find the line that contains the string FT_CONFIG_OPTION_SUBPIXEL_RENDERING and change it to: #define FT_CONFIG_OPTION_SUBPIXEL_RENDERING
2) The color-shaded sub-pixel rendering creates severe color "fringing" artifacts so there is another algorithm that cleans this up called the "LCD Filter." There are several settings to this filter but you'll want to use setting number two, the "light LCD filter." This setting is completely absent so you need to add it. Right before the line that says "FT_END_HEADER" you add this line: #define FT_FORCE_LIGHT_LCD_FILTER
3) The Apple-style of handling of composite offsets can usually make text appear in the right places, but only on OpenType fonts. It only happens on non-OpenType fonts if you force Freetype to do so. This setting makes it happen: #define TT_CONFIG_OPTION_COMPONENT_OFFSET_SCALED
4) The Freebyte bytecode interpreter can be enabled but I recommend you do not. Most of us know about this one already. You won't want it because latest Freetype release renders the fonts so cleanly and naturally using the color-shared sub-pixel algorithm. In addition, if you do use the bytecode interpreter instead of the auto-hinter, the Windows Vista fonts like Constantia turn into bold-weight fonts above approximately 10 point. Conversely, the Freetype auto-hinter always looks natural and renders normal light-weight fonts. Still, some people, like those who don't use sub-pixel rendering, need this feature so here is the setting: #define TT_CONFIG_OPTION_BYTECODE_INTERPRETER
Okay, now build it:
sh autogen.sh;./configure --prefix=/usr make sudo make install
If you have built freetype using the bytecode interpreter setting you need to edit your/etc/fonts/conf.d or your ~/fonts.conf files and be prepared to tune things (or just turn the bytecode interpreter off). Otherwise everything will look great using the autohinter. Then restart X Windows or reboot.
Now that the color-shaded sub-pixel rendering and light LCD filter are available the fonts are absolutely amazing. You really don't want the bytecode interpreter unless you have sub-pixel rendering turned off.