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Scientists Discover That Exercise Changes Your DNA

lkcl yoga study a few days ago (56 comments)

... haaaa, veery interesting: wasn't there an article on slashdot very recently that said that yoga apparently is a better cardiovascular work-out than aerobic exercise? and wouldn't it be fascinating if yoga activated DNA in different [much more beneficial] ways from aerobic exercise. meditation [deep breathing included] is *also* a form of exercise. wouldn't it be fascinating to find that there are actual *real* physiological benefits - at the cellular level - to all this so-called "mumbo jumbo" spiritual guru "nonsense", and that it all had *real* measureable benefits that *really did* prolong your life?

3 days ago
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Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

lkcl it's not illegal (266 comments)

" Drug companies cannot illegally prioritize profits over patients"

actually, it's not illegal, and in fact what the judge is doing is directly against the Articles of Incorporation of the Company. if this is something you're not familiar with, watch the first few minutes of the Documentary called "The Corporation" or read professor Yunus's book "Creating a World Without Poverty". basically it is a LEGAL REQUIREMENT that the Directors of Corporations enact - pathologically and absolutely - the Articles of Incorporation of a Company, otherwise they may either be faced with a vote by their shareholders to resign, or they may face jail time. ... and the Articles of Incorporation typically state that profit MUST be maximised to the absolute, total, complete, without fail absolute 100% top absolute top priority above all else WITHOUT fail.

so under the Articles of Incorporation of this Drug Company, saving lives is not a priority: making MONEY - the absolute maximum amount possible - is the absolute top priority.

so this judge's decision, therefore, was quite literally the only way by which those lives could be prioritised over and above the profits of the Corporation. you really should watch "The Documentary". its premise is that if a Corporation was a real person instead of a fictitous one, they give 10 reasons why that "person" would be locked up forever as pathologically and criminally insane. i no longer call Corporations "Corporations, i call them "Cancerations" because they pathologically consume all resources to further themselves with blatant disregard.

simple, really.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Software To Revive PocketPCs With Windows Mobile 5-6?

lkcl opie / familiar (110 comments)

i had 9 of those smartphone / pocket-pc style devices back at the time: the absolute best one was the HTC Universal, as it was more like a hand-held clamshell laptop with built-in 3G. you _used_ to be able to get information about them on handhelds.org but we coordinated through #htc-linux (since taken over by android dummies) and used wiki.xda-developers.com (since taken over by android wannabe modders). [note to xda-developer forum users: i may be being slightly unfair though about the android dummies and wannabes: i apologise in advance to any of you that aren't so stupid as to be able to find and pay attention long enough to read slashdot :) ]

so you're going to have to dig... and you'll almost certainly need to begin with the 2.6 era linux kernel tree, which should give you a very very big hint about what you face, here. to give you an example: the fastest i've ever been able to reverse-engineer linux onto a device was 3 weeks and that was because it already had a [GPL-violating] linux kernel on it, where they had left some clues around and it was possible to poke around in /proc.

beyond that, the fastest i managed - and i could not get PM/wakeup to work because i could not locate the correct RAM/device re-initialisation parameters - was six to eight weeks on the HTC/Compaq Ipaq, i believe it was called the hw6915.

beyond _that_, the _longest_ i ever heard someone taking (and this was because it was worth it) to get full driver functionality was THREE YEARS, and that was for the HTC Universal (aka O2 "XDA III").

please please DO NOT underestimate how much work it takes to do reverse-engineering. these handhelds are actually far more complex pieces of kit, in engineering and in software terms, than any laptop or desktop PC you've ever encountered. the HTC Universal had SEVEN audio output paths for example, and over four audio input paths. there were over 110 GPIO pins on its Intel PXA ARM processor, but these were nowhere near enough, so they had to use an external GPIO IC (we called it ASIC3). but... they actually ran out of GPIO pins on that *as well*, so they ended up utilising the 16 pins of GPIO on the Ericsson 3G GSM modem (only contactable over USB!) in order to control some of the functions such as camera light.

so in many ways you are actually better off designing (and paying to have made) your own device. that is not a joke, in the slightest bit. it will take you less time and will cost you less in lost earnings from having to work full-time on the reverse-engineering. and before you splutter in disbelief, there are people who have done exactly that: Dr Schaeller did the GTA04 fairly recently (fits into a Neo FreeRunner case), and in that way he at least got to pick a) a modern-ish processor b) the best components that were available c) he got CONTROL OVER THE DEVICE DRIVERs, and he didn't have to _guess_ what the GPIO maps and memory maps are.

basically, what i'm trying to say is that if you cannot find a pre-existing project (you didn't mention what devices you actually have) that has done the reverse-engineering, unless you are actually thinking of learning reverse-engineering as a useful specialist marketable skill, either throw those devices into landfill, give them to someone who doesn't mind winceouch, or break them down for parts and sell the components on ebay. check beforehand to make sure that they're desirable parts of course.

of course... i say "throw them into landfill", which is directly and vehemently against our social responsibility, but unfortunately when actually buying these devices we make selfish decisions, not socially responsible ones, not least because they *aren't any alternatives*. now http://phonebloks.com/ is looking to change that in the smartphone space, and i'm looking to change that in the everything-else-device arena (starting here https://www.crowdsupply.com/eo...)

about two weeks ago
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How Relevant is C in 2014?

lkcl is this a trick question? (641 comments)

i feel that the answer lies in the sentence "the internet is driven by c". if you want direct performance, executable compactness as well as operational efficiency (that is also massive step up from assembly language), you have *one* option available to you: c. that means that apache, wine, postgresql, openldap, cups, samba, libc6, the python interpreter itself, the linux kernel, the windows NT kernel and many more OSes: they're written in c.

only when some of those constraints - performance, compactness and operational efficiency - may be relaxed in favour of, for example, a higher bang-per-buck ratio in the expressive power behind the lines of code written (python dict), or where code-resuse is critical without too much inconvenience (templates and objects of c++), *then* you begin to choose alternative programming languages.

but as a general rule, if ever you see the word "system" or "service" in a sentence (operating "system", web "service"), automatically that implies "high performance" which automatically implies "high efficiency needed" and that means "c".

so i feel it is therefore much more interesting to note the situations in businesses where c is *not* used despite there being circumstances where performance is critical. when people choose java for web services, for example.

about two weeks ago
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Overly Familiar Sci-Fi

lkcl Re:Keeping it Readable (368 comments)

Yes, I also have griped about SF that shoehorns the distant future into the mold of today, or of the past. I have special disdain for those who want to recreate the wild west, or the age of piracy, or empires of the past with space opera trappings. If you love the old west, write westerns, man!

in the turkey lexicon written by bruce sterling to help new sci-fi writers, there's a special phrase to describe the type of book where "laser pistol" replaces the word "six shooter" and "steed" replaces "six-legged mounted alien beast". it's called "The Western"!

http://www.sfwa.org/2009/06/tu...

there are many more: you are not alone in encountering badly-written sci-fi by novelists who quotes want to get in on the sci-fi genre act quote. but one that really really surprised me: a book in the "Eve Online" universe. it begins *literally* with the "White Room Syndrome" and i was like "OH NOOO! the white room syndrome!!" - that's where the main character wakes up in a white room, with only one (white) door, and no furniture, with no memory of past events, and it symbolises the author's own total lack of imagination at being able to begin the story even from page one - but i kept reading and found that, actually, there was a heck of a lot of good in it. it was the author's first and only book, and he was extremely brave to attempt it, and, apart from being semi-starwars-esque in places and "film-drama-queen-esque" in others, the story worked really _really_ well, kept my attention and made really good use of advanced biotech, cloning, machine consciousness, wormhole technology and much more to actually *tell a story*.

about two weeks ago
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Overly Familiar Sci-Fi

lkcl bruce sterling's guide to sci-fi (368 comments)

bruce sterling wrote an extremely funny and valuable guide to sci-fi writers which i've mentioned here before on slashdot, and it has been expanded ever since. ah yeah here we go: http://www.sfwa.org/2009/06/tu... it's well-worth reading just for amusement value. the ironical thing is that this well-known sci-fi author, charles stross, is telling us that many sci-fi authors today are falling into some of the traps outlined by that lexicon and valuable guide.

whilist it seems flippant therefore to be telling them "write better sci-fi!" it has to be said that sci-fi writers have set themselves a much harder task than any other writing genre. first and foremost: they need to be good story tellers! and almost secondary to that, they need to be extremely knowledgeable about technology... *because their readers are*. whenever i read a new sci-fi novel by an author that i've never heard of before - and i do not do that often because it is a risk - i often find myself critiquing the author's style. anything where they assume i am an idiot (by doing things like explaining cloud computing to me), that's when the magic of the story is lost, and i know i just read a story by someone who is not going to ever be a successful sci-fi writer. it's a fine line to walk.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Dealing With Electronics-Induced Inattentiveness?

lkcl Re:Objectively Guage Your Happiness (312 comments)

" The kind of phone that only freakin' astronauts had in 1994." .... and only grandmothers and the *really* discerning geeks who have seen exactly the effects that the OP describes, and have decided to do something about it.

my advice on an old phone: get a nokia 6310i. that one is still amazing, and they sell out within an hour at market stalls. on a new phone: get a cheap PAYG nokia. they're still made, they now have a 30-day (30 DAY!!) standby, they still run the same OS as the 6310i (just upgraded to colour), and they're actually lighter. my partner has one, whilst i have a 3310.

i've taken up tennis in a big way: nearly every day now for over 20 months i do at least... something. i practice on a wall on days i don't have a regular partner, and when i remember i do the TM asanas routine (use google image search to find it) to counteract the intensity of the exercise i do. and drink a huge amount of water: i get through about a litre an hour. this is *important* because otherwise i find i really really suffer the next day (which shows in my inability to do the yoga, which is precisely why i do it, to check that my body's not full of toxins. as far as yoga's concerned: spirituality be buggered, i want to know if my body's ok!!)

but the reason why i took up tennis is not because it's physical exercise, it's because it's *complex* physical exercise, and, when played properly, also requires strategic thinking. i am training both left-handed and right-handed in order to make it more challenging, and also so as to be

then also i am eating marmite (high in B vitamins) without which i swear i become much more tired and unable to remeber things day-to-day. i'm also taking green-lipped mussel extract - the lower-priced stuff when i am low on funds and the really *really* good stuff (like this - http://teamfrezzor.com/truewis...) when i can afford it. without it, within days my knuckles start to ache and the arthritis in my right hip starts to be painful again.

the only other piece of advice i can give is that habits typically take between 30-40 days to break. for example smoking is *not* addictive in the ways that people think. nicotine only takes 36 hours to become addictive,.. and 36 hours to completely clear your system. the *psychological* addiction however - the craving to visit the same restaurants, bars and haunts [where others also happen to smoke].... *that's* what keeps people hooked.

about two weeks ago
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How "Big Ideas" Are Actually Hurting International Development

lkcl Prof. Yunus "Creating a World Without Poverty" (92 comments)

this is really really important: anyone wishing to make a difference in the world really REALLY needs to read the book written by Professor Yunus, the joint winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Price, "Creating a World Without Poverty".

in his book, Professor Yunus describes how he naively studied Economics because he believed that he would be able to change his country's financial situation through studying first world economies. after graduation he set out just after one of the worst natural disasters his country had experienced and realised how completely pointless his studies had been. however he did not give up, and set out to work out what the problem actually was.

he learned that the poor are first and foremost incredibly resourceful... mostly because they have to. he also learned that many of them are, because there are no enforceable usury laws, permanently kept in debt to money-lenders. this shocked him so badly that once he freed an entire village from debt just from the small change in his wallet: something like $USD 15 was all it took to pay off a decade of usury.

what he discovered is that the gratitude of these people when freed from their former situation is immeasurable. the Grameen Bank doesn't have lawyers or debt collectors. the people that they lend money to are so GRATEFUL that they work non-stop to turn their lives around and pay off their loan. in fact, the repayment success rate is around NINETY EIGHT percent. it's so high that the *GRAMEEN BANK* considers it to be THEIR FAULT if one of their customers is ever in default. by contrast in the western world the default rate is 88%. i'll repeat that again in case it's not clear: only TWELVE PERCENT of creditors in the western world pay their debts on time, every time, and in full.

but the main reason why anyone wishing to help the emerging markets and the third world should read his book is because he patiently, with all the knowledge from his economics background, outlines why NGOs, Charity and the "Corporate Social Responsibility" clauses of standard profit-maximising Capitalist Corporations are all worse than doomed but are guaranteed to be ineffective at best and invariably seriously damaging and counter-productive.

right at the start of his book he outlines a surprising offer by Danone to work with him (follow his advice) to actually be effective. it was Professor Yunus's first experience of having been "under the microscope" of people with both big resources and heart. in other words the team at Danone were huge fans of what Yunus was trying to achieve: when he explained to them the financial structure that was needed, they listened, and they did it. they did not go in with a charity, or with donations: they set up a "non-loss, non-dividend" business, selling *locally-produced* yoghurt that happened to have the nutritients that the local population happened (by a not-coincidence) to be chronically deficient in.

the yohurt was sold not at a loss but at an affordable financially sustainable price because the focus was on remaining *stable*, not on exploitation through maximisation of profits: the focus was on allowing people to feel proud of what they achieved, and to take responsibility for their own wealth. they were EMPOWERED through the enormous generous resources of Danone's, but it was a successful venture because they LISTENED to what Professor Yunus had to say.

about a month ago
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How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

lkcl Re:So, does water cost more? (377 comments)

What are the possible choices for farmers?

1. grow crappy crops with free seeds and lots of expensive water,
2. grow good groups with seeds that you need to pay for but use less water?

#2 will make you more money, so the cost of the seeds is a non-factor. #1 will make you poor, because when it doesn't rain your crops die.

So, what exactly is the issue?

this is a completely wrong analysis. if (2) was true those people would have been dead centuries or millenia ago. the fact that they are still alive tells you that they get by, and that, honestly, is good enough.

there was an attempt a few decades ago to do exactly what DuPont is doing [again]. i do not understand why 1st world countries do not leave the 3rd world alone to grow their own food. 1st world conditions are NOT THE SAME as 3rd world conditions.

the study that i heard about was exactly the same situation. a 3rd world country which had extremely poor yields was interfered with by a 1st world country providing donations of high-yield maize. for three to four years the success of the trials resulted in bumper crops and the surrounding farmers clambered onto the 1st world genetic variety maize.

then there was a drought.

the high-yield 1st world maize died, and the entire area went into famine. next year, because nothing had grown, nobody had any food the year after, either.

basically it turned out that the low-yield maize had a MASSIVE genetic diversity. some variants thrived in good conditions, some grew successfully *EVEN IN DROUGHT CONDITIONS*. no matter what happened, those people always got some food. not necessarily a lot, but enough so that they didn't die.

now the problem was with this stupid, stupid interference by a 1st world country was that because everyone in the area had converted over to this wonderful high-yield maize, NOBODY HAD ANY OF THE OLD GENETIC VARIETY LEFT.

it was a decade before the country properly recovered, and that was just from one drought.

so the conclusion is, unescapably, that DuPont is intent on killing people just to make a profit, as this isn't the first time that providing 1st world maize to 3rd world countries has gone very very wrong.

just leave them alone. we *DON'T* know better.

about a month ago
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Computer Scientists Say Meme Research Doesn't Threaten Free Speech

lkcl what's the threat? (109 comments)

this is pure speculation here, but my guess is that the people (politicians) protesting this research are quite likely to be the ones in charge of classified funding efforts for military, espionage and CIA equivalent research... and deployment of those same tools. if you've ever read Neal Stephenson's book "Cobweb" you'll know exactly what is most likely to be going on.

so, in essence, those people (politicians) know damn well that the espionage, domestic and political manipulation tools that they funded are quite likely to show up as anomalous activity should there ever be any tools (such as Truthy) provided to the general public, or any kind of research done to ascertain which "memes" *should* spread and which should not. for if there is anything that is detected which is *different* from normal expectations (a meme spread when it shouldn't have, and oh incidentally what was the source of that disruptive influence again?) it's really not going to go down too well with the people who *already* manipulate us from the shadows.

so i think you'll find that the people (politicians) protesting most loudly are the ones who are using media manipulation tools, and they're afraid that this research will be used to identify them, basically.

about a month and a half ago
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Interviews: Ask CMI Director Alex King About Rare Earth Mineral Supplies

lkcl landfill sites (62 comments)

yes, i definitely have a question. i heard the statistic that the concentration of heavy and rare earth metals is now *higher* in landfill sites than it is in the original mines that they came from, which, if true, is a global disgrace for which all of us are responsible. firstly, is this actually true, and secondly, is anyone doing anything about the extraction of rare earth metals from the electronics in which they were originally embedded?

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Can You Say Something Nice About Systemd?

lkcl no. (928 comments)

systemd violates the principles of unix, adding massive amounts of completely unnecessary complexity. there is absolutely nothing good to say about it.

about 2 months ago
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Microsoft Works On Windows For ARM-Based Servers

lkcl Windows NT 3.5 (113 comments)

wasn't NT 3.5 available for ARM, DEC Alpha, Power PC *and* x86? wasn t the core of the NT kernel based on the Mach kernel, and written almost exclusively in c? so what the hell went wrong??

about 2 months ago
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Dwarf Galaxies Dim Hopes of Dark Matter

lkcl statistically (137 comments)

i think at some point some scientists somewhere will work out that the statistical evidence is growing to show, more and more, that dark matter *doesn't* exist...

about 2 months ago
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Python-LMDB In a High-Performance Environment

lkcl Re:Over-emphasizing (98 comments)

PPS: Given your custom IPC for Python, could you go us one further and write an OSGi for Python using it? Pretty please! ;)

:) i'd love to but sadly it's one of the [few] contracts where i was in a proprietary environment. if i meet a software libre project some time in the future that needs that kind of stuff i'll certainly attempt to recreate it but it would need to be at least a year before i consider that.

about 2 months ago
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Python-LMDB In a High-Performance Environment

lkcl Re:database performance (98 comments)

That's not loadavg, that's IO latency. You should probably be using iostat to get useful numbers.

oo, thank you very much for that tip, i'll try to pass it on and will definitely remember it for the next projects i work on. thank you.

about 2 months ago
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Python-LMDB In a High-Performance Environment

lkcl Re:(not)perplexingly (98 comments)

It doesn't matter how awesome someone thinks their Python-LMDB project is. It doesn't matter how important someone thinks their Python-LMDB project is.

the mistake you've made has been raised a number of times in the slashdot comments (3 so far). the wikipedia page that was deleted was about LMDB, not python-lmdb. python-lmdb is just bindings to LMDB and that is not notable in any significant way.

about 2 months ago
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Python-LMDB In a High-Performance Environment

lkcl Over-emphasizing (98 comments)

CPython is a compiler.

it's an interpreter which was [originally] based on a FORTH engine.

  It compiles Python source code to Python bytecode,

there is a compiler which does that, yes.

and the Python runtime executes the compiled bytecode.

it interprets it.

CPython has one major weakness, the GIL (global interpreter lock).

*sigh* it does. the effect that this has on threading is to reduce threads to the role of a mutually-exclusive task-switching mechanism.

I've seen the GIL harm high-throughput, multi-threaded event processing systems not dissimilar from the one you describe.

yes. you are one of the people who will appreciate, given that the codebase could not be written in (or converted to) any other language, due to time-constraints, that using processes and custom-written IPC because threads (which you'd think would be perfect to get high-performance on event processing because there would be no overhead on passing data between threads) couldn't be used, means that the end-result is going to be... complicated.

If you must insist on Python and want to avoid multi-threaded I/O bound weaknesses of the GIL, then use Jython.

not a snowball in hell's chance of that happening :) not in a milllion years. not on this project, and not on any project i will actively and happily be involved in. and *especially* i cannot ever endorse the use of java for high performance reliable applications. i'm familiar with python's advantages and disadvantages, the way that the garbage collector works, and am familiar with the size of the actual python interpreter and am happy that it is implemented in c.

java on the other hand i just... i don't even want to begin describing why i don't want to be involved in its deployment - i'm sure there are many here on slashdot happy to explain why java is unsuitable.

there are many other ways in which the limitation of threads in python imposed by the GIL may be avoided. i chose to work around the problem by using processes and custom-writing an IPC infrastructure using edge-triggered epoll. it was... hard. others may choose to use stackless python. others may agree with the idea to use jython, but honestly if the application was required to be reasonably reliable as well as high-performance there would be absolutely no way that i could ever endorse such an idea. sorry :)

about 2 months ago
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Python-LMDB In a High-Performance Environment

lkcl Do not use joins (98 comments)

if something like PostgreSQL had been used as the back-end store, that rate would be somewhere around 30,000 tasks per second or possibly even less than that

You should pipe it to /dev/nul. That's webscale.

don't jest... please :) jokes about "you should just have a big LED on the box with a switch and a battery" _not_ appreciated :)

but, seriously: the complete lack of need in this application for joins (as well as any other features of SQL or NOSQL databases) was what led me to research key-value stores in the first place.

about 2 months ago
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Python-LMDB In a High-Performance Environment

lkcl Re:Would it hurt ... (98 comments)

A lot of the locking semantics you mentioned sound pretty similar to RCU which is used extensively in the Linux kernel, and allows for lockless reading on certain architectures.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R... .... yes, i think so. now imagine that all the copying is done by the OS using the OS's virtual memory page-table granularity (so does not have any very very very significant overhead). and also imagine that the library is intelligent enough to move the older page into its record of free pages during a cleanup phase that doesn't cost very much either. and also remember that on accessing B+ trees to find a record you only need to know the "top" (root) node... so you can update (or create) using those COW semantics as many B+ tree nodes as you like, knowing that it's *only* the root node that you need (after the fact) to tell (new) readers about... ... and now it's no longer expensive to do those RCU style operations, and the performance is streets ahead of any other key-value store.

but i am not an expert on these things. i'm sure that if howard chipped in here (and he _is_ an expert on the linux kernel and on high-performance efficient algorithm implementation) he'd be able to tell you more and probably a lot more accurately than i can.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Open Educational Robot for under $50

lkcl lkcl writes  |  about 2 months ago

lkcl (517947) writes "Straight from the crowd-funding page comes news of Hack-E-Bot, described as a "low price and open source robot that hopes to encourage children to learn about engineering, electronics, and programming". Part of the reason for achieving such a low price appears to be down to the use of a tiny $7 off-the-shelf Arduino-compatible board called Trinket from Adafruit. The Trinket (ATTiny328 PIC) press-fits neatly into a supplied breadboard: all connections and any educational experiments can be done entirely without soldering. It's cute, it's under $50, you can pay extra for one to be given free to a child if you want, and there's a lower-cost kit version available if you prefer to use your own embedded board and are prepared to write your own software. I absolutely love the whole idea, and they've already reached the incredibly low $7,000 funding target, so it's going ahead."
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Python-LMDB in a high-performance environment

lkcl lkcl writes  |  about 2 months ago

lkcl (517947) writes "In an open letter to the core developers behind OpenLDAP (Howard Chu) and Python-LMDB (David Wilson) is a story of a successful creation of a high-performance task scheduling engine written (perplexingly) in python. With only partial optimisation allowing tasks to be executed in parallel at a phenomenal rate of 240,000 per second, the choice to use Python-LMDB for the per-task database store based on its benchmarks as well as its well-researched design criteria turned out to be the right decision. Part of the success was also due to earlier architectural advice gratefully received here on slashdot. What is puzzling though is that LMDB on wikipedia is being constantly deleted, despite its "notability" by way of being used in a seriously-long list of prominent software libre projects, which has been, in part, motivated by the Oracle-driven BerkeleyDB license change. It would appear that the original complaint about notability came from an Oracle employee as well..."
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Power-loss-protected SSDs tested: only Intel S3500 passes

lkcl lkcl writes  |  about a year ago

lkcl (517947) writes "After the reports on SSD reliability and after experiencing a costly 50% failure rate on over 200 remote-deployed OCZ Vertex SSDs, a degree of paranoia set in where I work. I was asked to carry out SSD analysis with some very specific criteria: budget below £100, size greater than 16Gbytes and Power-loss protection mandatory. This was almost an impossible task: after months of searching the shortlist was very short indeed. There was only one drive that survived the torturing: the Intel S3500. After more than 6,500 power-cycles over several days of heavy sustained random writes, not a single byte of data was lost. Crucial M4: fail. Toshiba THNSNH060GCS: fail. Innodisk 3MP SATA Slim: fail. OCZ: epic fail. Only the end-of-lifed Intel 320 and its newer replacement the S3500 survived unscathed. The conclusion: if you care about data even when power could be unreliable, only buy Intel SSDs."
Link to Original Source
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QiMod / Rhombus Tech A10 EOMA-68 CPU Card running Debian 7 (armhf)

lkcl lkcl writes  |  about a year and a half ago

lkcl (517947) writes "With much appreciated community assistance, the first EOMA-68 CPU Card in the series, based on an Allwinner A10 processor, is now running Debian 7 (armhf variant). Two demo videos have been made. Included in the two demos: fvwm2, midori web browser, a patched version of VLC running full-screen 1080p, HDMI output, powering and booting from Micro-HDMI, and connecting to a 4-port USB Hub. Also shown is the 1st revision PCB for the upcoming KDE Flying Squirrel 7in tablet.

The next phase is to get the next iteration of test / engineering samples out to interested free software developers, as well as large clients, which puts the goal of having Free Software Engineers involved with the development of mass-volume products within reach."

Link to Original Source
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Rhombus Tech 2nd revision A10 EOMA68 Card working samples

lkcl lkcl writes  |  about a year and a half ago

lkcl (517947) writes "Rhombus Tech and QiMod have working samples of the first EOMA-68 CPU Card, featuring 1GByte of RAM, an A10 processor and stand-alone (USB-OTG-powered with HDMI output) operation. Upgrades will include the new Dual-Core ARM Cortex A7, the pin-compatible A20. This is the first CPU Card in the EOMA-68 range: there are others in the pipeline (A31, iMX6, jz4760 and a recent discovery of the Realtek RTD1186 is also being investigated).

The first product in the EOMA-68 family, also nearing a critical phase in its development, will be the KDE Flying Squirrel, a 7in user-upgradeable tablet featuring the KDE Plasma Active Operating System. Laptops, Desktops, Games Consoles, user-upgradeable LCD Monitors and other products are to follow. And every CPU that goes into the products will be pre-vetted for full GPL compliance, with software releases even before the product goes out the door. That's what we've promised to do: to provide Free Software Developers with the opportunity to be involved with mass-volume product development every step of the way. We're also on the look-out for an FSF-Endorseable processor which also meets mass-volume criteria which is proving... challenging."

Link to Original Source
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Rhombus Tech 2nd revision A10 EOMA68 Card

lkcl lkcl writes  |  about a year and a half ago

lkcl writes "The 2nd revision of the A10 EOMA-68 CPU Card is complete and samples are due soon: one sample is due back with a Dual-Core Allwinner A20. This will match up with the new revision of the Vivaldi Spark Tablet, codenamed the Flying Squirrel. Also in the pipeline is an iMX6 CPU Card, and the search is also on for a decent FSF-Endorseable option. The Ingenic jz4760 has been temporarily chosen. Once these products are out, progress becomes extremely rapid."
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Rhombus Tech AM389x/DM816x EOMA-68 CPU Card started

lkcl lkcl writes  |  more than 2 years ago

lkcl writes "The Rhombus Tech Project is pleased to announce the beginning of a Texas Instruments AM389x/DM816x EOMA-68 CPU Card: thanks to earlier work on the A10 CPU Card and thanks to Spectrum Digital, work on the schematics is progressing rapidly. With access to more powerful SoCs such as the OMAP5 and Exynos5 being definitely desirable but challenging at this early phase of the Rhombus Tech initiative, the AM3892 is powerful enough (SATA-II, up to 1600mhz DDR3 RAM, Gigabit Ethernet) to still take seriously even though it is a 1.2ghz ARM Cortex A8. With no AM3892 beagleboard clone available for sale, input is welcomed as to features people would like on the card. The key advantage of an AM3892 EOMA-68 CPU Card though: it's FSF Hardware-endorseable, opening up the possibility — at last — for the FSF to have an ARM-based tablet or smartbook to recommend. Preorders for the AM3892 CPU Card are open."
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Rhombus Tech A10 EOMA-68 CPU Card schematics completed

lkcl lkcl writes  |  more than 2 years ago

lkcl writes "Rhombus Tech's first CPU Card is nearing completion and availability: the schematics have been completed by Wits-Tech. Although it appears strange to be using a 1ghz Cortex A8 for the first CPU Card, not only is the mass-volume price of the A10 lower than other offerings; not only does the A10 classify as "good enough" (in combination with 1gb of RAM); but Allwinner Tech is one of the very rare China-based SoC companies willing to collaborate with Software (Libre) developers without an enforced (GPL-violating) NDA in place. Overall, it's the very first step in the right direction for collaboration between Software (Libre) developers and mass-volume PRC Factories. There will be more (faster, better) EOMA-68 CPU Cards: this one is just the first."
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Google+ Identity Fraud

lkcl lkcl writes  |  more than 2 years ago

lkcl writes "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nymwars outlines the problem with Google+ as an "identity" service, but nowhere does this page discuss any compelling down-sides for Google themselves. One is the risk of lawsuits where people *relied * on Google+, were lulled into a false sense of security by Google+, failed to follow standard well-established online internet identity precautions, and were defrauded as a *direct* result of Google's claims of "safety". Another is the legal cost of involvement in, and the burden of proof that would fall onto Google in identity-fraud-related cases of online stalking, internet date rape and murder. Can anyone think of some other serious disadvantages that would compel google to rethink its google+ identity policy? I would really like to use Google Hangouts, but I'll be damned if i'll use it under anything other than under my 25-year-established pseudonym, "lkcl". What's been your experience with applying for an "unreal" identity?"
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Pyjamas pyjs.org Domain hijacked

lkcl lkcl writes  |  more than 2 years ago

lkcl writes "The domain name for the pyjamas project, pyjs.org, was hijacked today by some of its users. The reasons: objections over the project leader's long-term goal to have pyjamas development be self-hosting (git browsing, wiki, bugtracker etc. all as Free Software Licensed pyjamas applications). Normally if there is disagreement, a Free Software Project is forked: a new name is chosen and the parting-of-the-ways is done if not amicably but at least publicly. Pyjamas however now appears to have made Free Software history by being the first project to have its domain actually hijacked. rather embarrassingly, in the middle of a publicly-announced release cycle. Has anything like this ever happened before?"
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B2G's Store and Security Model

lkcl lkcl writes  |  more than 2 years ago

lkcl writes "Boot to Gecko is a full and complete stand-alone Operating System that is to use Gecko as both its Window Manager and Applications UI. Primarily targetted at smartphones, security and the distribution of applications are both facing interesting challenges: scaling to mass-volume proportions (100 million+ units). The resources behind Google's app store (effectively unlimited cloud computing) are not necessarily guaranteed to be available to Telcos that wish to set up a B2G store. Although B2G began from Android, Mozilla's primary expertise in the development of Gecko and in the use of SSL is second to none. There is howevera risk that the B2G Team will rely solely on userspace security enforcement (in a single executable) and to try inappropriate use of CSP, Certificate pinning and other SSL techniques for app distribution, resulting in some quite harmful consequences that will impact B2G's viability. The question is, therefore: what security infrastructure surrounding the stores themselves as well as in the full B2G OS itself would actually be truly effective in the large-scale distribution of B2G applications, whilst also retaining flexibility and ease of development that would attract and retain app writers?"
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EOMA-PCMCIA modular computer aiming for $15 and Fr

lkcl lkcl writes  |  about 3 years ago

lkcl writes "An initiative by a CIC company Rhombus Tech aims to provide Software (Libre) Developers with a PCMCIA-sized modular computer that could end up in mass-volume products. The Reference Design mass-volume pricing guide from the SoC manufacturer, for a device with similar capability to the raspberrypi, is around $15: 40% less than the $25 rbpi but for a device with an ARM Cortex A8 CPU 3x times faster than the 700mhz ARM11 used in the rbpi. GPL Kernel source code is available. A page for community ideas for motherboard designs has also been created. The overall goal is to bring more mass-volume products to market which Software (Libre) Developers have actually been involved in, reversing the trend of endemic GPL violations surrounding ARM-based mass-produced hardware. The Preorder pledge registration is now open (account creation required)."
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Where are the Ultra-efficient production Hybrid EV

lkcl lkcl writes  |  more than 3 years ago

lkcl writes "Has anyone else wondered why ultra-efficient hybrid vehicles have to look like this, why the Twizy doesn't have doors as standard and has leased batteries, or why the Volkswagen XL1 does 313mpg but only seats 2 people and isn't yet in production? Why were both Toyota's RAV4-EV as well as GM's EV1 not just discontinued but destroyed? Against this background, what makes this 3-seat Hybrid EV design different, and what could make it successful? Although this article on hybridcar.com outlines the problem, the solution isn't clear-cut, so how can ultra-efficient affordable hybrids actually end up on the road?"
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An accidental Free Software Accelerated 3D GPU

lkcl lkcl writes  |  more than 3 years ago

lkcl writes "In evaluating the Xilinx Xilinx Zynq-7000 for use in a FSF Hardware-endorsed Laptop and possible OpenPandora v2.0, a series of Free Software projects were accidentally linked together — Gallium3D and LLVM 2.7's MicroBlaze FPGA Target. The combination is the startling possibility that the Xilinx Zynq-7000 may turn out to be the perfect platform for a Free Software 3D GPU, for use in Tablets, Laptops, and the OpenGraphics Project. entirely by accident."
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RISC Notebooks: does 28nm make all the difference?

lkcl lkcl writes  |  more than 3 years ago

lkcl writes "Predictions have been made for quite some time that ARM or MIPS notebooks and servers will be here. Failed prototypes date back over two years, with the Pegatron Netbook never finding a home; the $175 Next Surfer Pro being frantically withdrawn last week, the Lenovo Skylight being pulled weeks before it was to launch, and a rash of devices successfully making it to market with long-term unusable 1024x600 LCD panels and a maximum of 512mb RAM being the only real rare (and often expensive) option. The Toshiba AC100 and the HP/Compaq Airlife 100 are classic examples.

So the key question is: what, exactly is holding things back? With the MIPS 1074k architecture, a Quad-Core 1.5ghz CPU at 40nm would only consume 1.3 watts, and 28nm could easily exceed 2.0ghz and use 30% less power. The MIPS GS464V, designed by China's ICT, has such high SIMD Vector performance that it will be capable of 100fps 1080p at 1ghz on a single core, and has hardware assisted accelerated emulation of over 200 x86 instructions. A Dual-Core Cortex A9 consumes 0.5 watts at 800mhz and 1.9 watts at 2ghz: 28nm would mean a whopping 3ghz could potentially be achieved. And Gaisler have a SPARC-compatible core, the LEON4, which can be configured in anything up to 8 cores, and run at up to 1.5ghz in 30nm, giving an impressive 1.7DMIPS/Mhz performance per core that matches that of both the MIPS 1074k and the ARM Cortex A9 designs.

Due to the incredibly small size, significantly-mass-volume SoC processors based around these cores could conceivably be around an estimated $12 for Quad-Core 28nm MIPS1074k and $15 for Dual-Core 28nm Cortex A9s, bringing the price of an impressive desktop system easily down to $80 retail and a decent laptop to $150.

So why, if this is what's possible, providing such fantastic performance at incredible prices, are we still seeing "demo" products like the OMAP4 TI Smartphone, are still waiting for the Samsung Enyxos 4210, and for Nusmart's 2ghz 2816? Why are we not seeing any products with decent screens and memory from mainstream companies like Dell, IBM and HP, but are instead seeing a rash of low-performance low-quality GPL-violating Chinese-made Android-based knock-offs, touted as "web-ready", with webcams and microphones that don't even work?

What's it going to take for these alternative processors to hit mainstream? Do we really have to wait for 24nm or less, where it would be possible to run these RISC cores at ungodly 4ghz speeds or above, when 20,000 tiny RISC cores could fit on a single wafer resulting in prices of $4 to $5 per CPU? Or, with the rise of Android and GNU/Linux Operating Systems, would a lowly 28nm multi-core RISC-based System-on-a-Chip be enough for most peoples' needs?"

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ARM or MIPS Notebooks: does 28nm make a difference

lkcl lkcl writes  |  more than 3 years ago

lkcl writes "Predictions have been made for quite some time that ARM or MIPS notebooks and servers will be here. Failed prototypes date back over two years, with the Pegatron Netbook never finding a home; the $175 Next Surfer Pro being frantically withdrawn last week, the Lenovo Skylight being pulled weeks before it was to launch, and a rash of devices successfully making it to market with long-term unusable 1024x600 LCD panels and a maximum of 512mb RAM being the only real rare (and often expensive) option.

So the key question is: what, exactly is holding things back? With the MIPS 1074k architecture, a Quad-Core 1.5ghz CPU at 40nm would only consume 1.3 watts, and 28nm could easily exceed 2.0ghz and use 30% less power. A Dual-Core Cortex A9 consumes 0.5 watts at 800mhz and 1.9 watts at 2ghz: 28nm would mean a whopping 3ghz could potentially be achieved. Due to the incredibly small size, significantly-mass-volume SoC processors based around these cores could conceivably be around $12 for Quad-Core 28nm MIPS1074k and $15 for Dual-Core 28nm Cortex A9s.

So why, if this is what's possible, providing such fantastic performance at incredible prices, are we still seeing "demo" products like the OMAP4 TI Smartphone, are still waiting for the Samsung Enyxos 4210 and for Nusmart's 2ghz 2816?"

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FreedomBox Foundation hits target in 5 days

lkcl lkcl writes  |  more than 3 years ago

lkcl writes "The FreedomBox Foundation hit its minimum target of $60,000 in just 5 days, thanks to KickStarter Pledges, and seeks further contributions to ensure that the Project is long-term viable. Curiously but crucially, the FreedomBox fund is for Software only, yet neither suitable low-cost $30 ARM or MIPS "plug computers", envisaged by Eben Moglen as the ideal target platform, nor mid-to-high-end ARM or MIPS low-cost developer-suitable laptops actually exist. What do slashdot readers envisage to be the way forward, here, given that the goals of the FreedomBox are so at odds with mass-market Corporate-driven hardware design decisions?"
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Toshiba AC100 Linux 2.6.29 Kernel Source available

lkcl lkcl writes  |  more than 4 years ago

lkcl (517947) writes "Toshiba Digital Media Group, Japan, kindly responded to a request for all GPL source code and supplied it on CD. The kernel source has been uploaded to the arm-netbook alioth git repository (branch ac100/2.6.29/lkcl). The AC100 has already been hacked, rooted and sadly ubuntu'd as noted on debian-arm. Availability of the "official" kernel source should make getting WIFI etc. somewhat easier. Two key questions remain, though: why does such a fantastic machine with a top-end dual core ARM Cortex A9 CPU only come with 512mb of RAM, and why supply only the truly dreadful and unusable 1024x600 resolution LCD when it is known to be the cause of so many negative reviews?"
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Open University Linux Course Irony

lkcl lkcl writes  |  more than 4 years ago

lkcl (517947) writes "A new Open University course, Linux T155 aims to teach the benefits of Linux and Free Software, including the philosophy and history as well as the practical benefits of being virus-free and being able to prolong the working life of hardware. Unfortunately, in a delicious piece of irony, potential Tutors who stand by Free Software principles and thus are best suited to apply for a teaching post must violate the very principles they are expected to instil, by filling in a Microsoft Word formatted application form. An article on the Advogato Free Software Advocacy site describes the ways in which changing the "accidental" policy of using Proprietary File formats has succeeded and where it has failed."
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python converted to javascript: executed in-browse

lkcl lkcl writes  |  more than 5 years ago

lkcl writes "Two independent projects Skulpt and Pyjamas are working to bring python to the web browser (and the javascript command-line) the hard way: as javascript. Skulpt already has a cool python prompt demo on its homepage; Pyjamas has a gwtcanvas demo port and a GChart 2.6 demo port. Using the 64-bit version of google v8 and PyV8, Pyjamas has just recently successfully run its python regression tests, converted to javascript, at the command-line. (Note: don't try any of the above SVG demos with FF2 or IE6: they will suck.)"
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