Friday Distro: Trisquel GNU/Linux

by zafiro17@pipedot.org in linux on 2014-09-19 10:59 (#2SKF)

story imageAhoy there. Let's say you'll be wantin' a Linux distro that's been blessed by his ownself the Grand Admiral of the GNU revolution, Richard Stallman. Arrr. And supposin' you can't abide by the wretched bilge that's binary blobs infectin' yer own GNU/Linux system, foisted upon ya by the likes of those lowly bastards Adobe and NVidia, whose scurvy, un-transparent and despicable rot goes against your very bein'. Well then, you'll be wantin' to make sure yer own good ship Linux hoists the latest version of Trisquel GNU/Linux, and smartly at that.

Off with ya then, to the grimy bastards at Distrowatch, with some right fine background for ya. Trisquel hails from Spain, a piratin' and thievin' port of call if ever there was one. Arrr. But they've chosen what's proper over what's easy. Turn away if you've got an Nvidia graphics card, or if ya can't stand the likes of a distro based on the latest Ubuntu. Trisquel is a fine lookin' ship if ever I've laid my eyes on one, hoistin' aloft clean versions of LXDE, XFCE, and KDE desktops, but believe you me when I tell ya they've been stripped bare of any software that isn't cut from the purest, GPL cloth. I sailed that ship in a virtual machine while hittin' no reefs, aaar, but I do reckon if your hardware isn't the plainest of vanilla, you may find it chafes your britches when you install 'er.

That said though, avast, she's a smart little distro, she sails a beaut, and she's right easy on the eyes, if I do say so myself. As for the package selection, aaar, when I'm at the tiller and the mainsail's drawin' wind, most of the packages I use I found sittin' sweet as a lily in the repos. Your own position at sea might be affected, though, if you find yerself needin' something exotic.

I myself am as pure as the next Linux captain, who be supportin' the cause of throwin' all those lily-livered binary blobs in the brig. But not if it means I can't sail my ship. That's why you won't be findin' this pirate sailin' Trisquel myself. But if ideological purity be yer cup-o-rum, well then, aaaarrr: raise the plank on Trisquel, and may fine winds be at yer back. Drop in at the Trisquel tavern where you can break yer jaw askin' yer questions, and tell 'em Captain Zafiro17 sent ya, like the devil himmself. Aaaar haar haar har har har.

Quietnet: a simple chat program using inaudible sounds

by Anonymous Coward in security on 2014-09-19 10:19 (#2SKC)

story imageImagine being able to chat with another user using what's in effect a modem program that transmits sounds at near ultrasonic frequencies. Now imagine your cat or dog being royally pissed off by your conversation.

The future is now. An anonymous Pipedotter wrote it to direct out attention to quietnet, a program that does just that. It is a simple chat program that works without Wifi or Bluetooth connections and won't show up in a pcap. You need a good pair of speakers to make it work: If you can clearly hear the send script working then your speakers may not be high quality enough to produce sounds in the near ultrasonic range.

Quietnet is dependant on pyaudio[1] and Numpy[2].

[1] http://people.csail.mit.edu/hubert/pyaudio/
[2] http://www.numpy.org/

The same Anonymous Coward notes: "Quietnet is just a toy! Take a look at minimodem[3] or gnuradio[4] if you need something robust."

[3] http://www.whence.com/minimodem/
[4] http://gnuradio.org/

[Ed. note: looks pretty interesting. Time to test out my cat's audio frequency sensitivity, that fuzzy bastard.]

California Basking in Record Amount of Electricity from Solar

by evilviper@pipedot.org in science on 2014-09-19 10:02 (#2SKB)

The modern era of solar electricity got under way in 1954 as Bell Laboratory scientists unveiled a “solar battery” made from silicon that was used to power a toy Ferris wheel and a radio. In recent years, solar has boomed as costs have declined and government policies have favored a renewable energy source that can help combat climate change.

California’s solar energy generation hit a record earlier this year, accounting for 6 percent of energy from the California Independent System Operator, which manages the bulk of the state’s flow of electricity. Last year’s growth in solar capacity was greater than all earlier years combined. The state backs solar through financial incentives and a law that requires utilities derive 33 percent of their energy from renewable energy sources by 2020.

Good news for responsible energy generation.

Debian Security Advisory - DSA-3025-1 apt - security update

by Anonymous Coward in linux on 2014-09-18 21:52 (#2SK4)

Debian has announced a security advisory about its apt-get software, and recommends that you upgrade your apt packages ... with apt, of course.
"It was discovered that APT, the high level package manager, does not properly invalidate unauthenticated data (CVE-2014-0488), performs incorrect verification of 304 replies (CVE-2014-0487), does not perform the checksum check when the Acquire::GzipIndexes option is used (CVE-2014-0489) and does not properly perform validation for binary packages downloaded by the apt-get download command (CVE-2014-0490)."
This update comes to you courtesy of the IOERROR Twitter account.

How the Ear Tunes Out Sounds Before They Reach Your Brain

by evilviper@pipedot.org in science on 2014-09-18 15:40 (#2SJW)

In a crowded room, how do you focus on your companion's voice while ignoring the conversations going on around you? A digital model of the cochlea, the shell-shaped organ that serves as an interface between sound waves and the nervous system, suggests the ear begins filtering out background sounds before they even reach the brain.

Studying how the brain hones in on a single voice, a phenomenon known as the "cocktail party effect," can help unlock how the brain perceives sound. But it's not just about the brain. For several decades, researchers have suspected that other parts of the auditory system also play a big role.

http://www.insidescience.org/content/physics-tuning-out/1586

California Bill Requires Landlords to Allow EV Charging Stations

by evilviper@pipedot.org in hardware on 2014-09-18 09:46 (#2SJB)

California lawmakers have passed a bill that would enable residential and commercial tenants to install electric-vehicle charging stations, provided that they foot the bill, making it harder for landlords to enact lease provisions that would prevent tenants from buying and installing such stations. This to aid the state's goal of having 1.5 million zero-emissions vehicles on California's roads by 2025.

California is home to about 1,900 publicly accessible charging stations with about 5,400 charging outlets, according to the US Department of Energy. More than one in five US charging stations are in California.

New poll: mobile devices I own/use

by zafiro17@pipedot.org in ask on 2014-09-18 09:38 (#2SJ5)

By popular request, a new poll: "mobile devices I own/use." Include members of your family if you want to, and add anything I've forgotten in the comments. This list got unwieldy fast as there are so many vendors and models, and even some overlap in classification. So if you've got something interesting, or are simply still using your classic old Palm Pilot, Nokia dumbphone, Psion 5mx, and Zaurus, go ahead and tell us about it.

The poll is right here ------>

[Ed. note: there ya go, AC: instant gratification, Pipedot style. I notice our Monday polls have typically petered out by about Wednesday anyway; maybe we'll go to two polls a week if we can think of some subjects. I have a hard time coming up with new polls. Also: this is a test of linking to individual comments using shortcodes.]

Apple releases iOS8

by zafiro17@pipedot.org in apple on 2014-09-17 14:08 (#2SH1)

Apple released the 8th version of its popular iOS operating system today, and as far as this editor can tell, the entire Internet experienced a collective nerdgasm. Every major tech site is either reporting on it, speculating on it, or promising sneak previews of hitherto undisclosed features.

Apple themselves are calling iOS8 "the biggest update ever." So we turn to the Register, who gives us a more precise list of new features:
IOS 8 can automatically filter, straighten and crop snaps, and it eases the process of sharing photos and others files with people ... will record time-lapse videos, if you want. And the iOS Messages app will be updated to include location info, video and voice records, and self-deleting vids, apparently. ...
The update will also include the HealthKit personal monitoring API that was seen at WWDC back in June. Other features include supposedly better predictive typing for the on-screen keyboard, and Siri apparently works better with getting information from maps and news. Not all the features will be available in all countries, however. Siri's ability to reserve restaurant tables, for example, will only be offered to people in North America when the OS launches. And, of course, the update will use the iPhone 6 smartphone and 6 Plus' NFC hardware as a cash substitute thanks to Apple Pay. That service is supported by many of the largest banks and credit card companies – although third-party app makers are frozen out of the party.
So what say you P8rs? Is this a revolution in pocket computing, or a marginal update to existing features? Or something in between?

How Made In Space's 3-D Printer Could Revolutionize the Final Frontier

by evilviper@pipedot.org in space on 2014-09-17 13:57 (#2SGY)

story imageWhen the first 3-D printer designed to work in a weightless environment is sent up to the International Space Station – as early as next week! – it will mark one small step toward a giant leap for manufacturing in outer space.

"Imagine if you're going to Mars, and instead of packing along 20,000 spare parts, you pack along a few kilograms of 'ink,'" NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman said in a video recorded in March before starting his stint on the station. "Now you don't even need to know what part is going to break. You can just print out that part. ... I really like that, and it'll be fun to play with that in orbit."

[Ed note: finally able to use the "printer" icon in a "space" article. Life is good.]

Qt is about to be independent again

by zafiro17@pipedot.org in code on 2014-09-17 13:54 (#2SGX)

Once upon a time, the Qt developer kit was written and published by Trolltech. Then it was sold to Nokia. Then Nokia sold it to Digia. And now, Digia is spinning it off as an independent entity. Freedom at last?!

The Register reports:
While Digia puts an upbeat spin on the separation, it's hard to avoid wondering if, like Trolltech and Nokia before it, the company has found it hard to reconcile the coexistence of the open source and commercial versions of the platform.

It said as much in August, noting that “The installers and product packages for the open source and enterprise versions are different, and there is a complete disconnect between qt-project.org and the commercial pages on qt.digia.com” when it announced its intention to create the subsidiary.

Digia holds 100 per cent of the new Qt company at this point, and said one of the aims of the new operation will be to unify the two sets of packages, starting with one set of installers.

The first step of the creation of a new Qt has now gone live, and a few days ago the unified operation popped its head up at the IBC conference in Amsterdam to position its capabilities as a set-to-box and digital TV UI development environment.
[Ed. note: Now that Qt is on its own, they should come up with a good name for the organization. I propose "Trolltech" - just so we can truly come full-circle.]
[2014-09-17 15:15 Title updated from QT to Qt]
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