A $1, Linux-Capable, Hand-Solderable Processor

Found on Hackaday on Tuesday, 18 September 2018
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This is an ARM processor capable of running Linux. It’s hand-solderable in a TQFP package, has a built-in Mali GPU, support for a touch panel, and has support for 512MB of DDR3.

There is no HDMI support, you’ll need to add some more chips (that are probably in a BGA package), but, hey, it’s only a dollar.

While the Allwinner A13 beats all the other options on price and solderability, it should be noted that like all of these random Linux-capable SoCs, the software is a mess. There is a reason those ‘Raspberry Pi killers’ haven’t yet killed the Raspberry Pi, and it’s because the Allwinner chips don’t have documentation and let’s repeat that for emphasis: the software is a mess.

So the price is good, but the software is a mess. That effectively turns it into a "thanks but no thanks" product, which is too bad. Not to mention that it's a bad idea to offer the core in a TQFP package which you can solder manually, while the missing graphic option would require BGA chips which cut down to target audience to a minority.

Linux kernel's Torvalds: 'I am truly sorry' for 'unprofessional' rants, I need a break to get help

Found on The Register on Monday, 17 September 2018
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Torvalds, who created the Linux operating system kernel in 1991 and has overseen its development ever since, also promised to take a breather from the project – like the sabbatical he took to create Git – and do some self-reflection to, well, be nicer to everyone.

The Finnish-born American, perhaps feeling the pressure as the single kernel chieftain responsible for all that, is an absolute stickler for quality and reliability, making his feelings bluntly known if submitted patches are, in his view, substandard.

If even Linus is aiming for politicial correctness and non-offensive speeches, the world has truly ended. Let's hope Linus won't change; for something as important as the Kernel, you need someone who does not beat around the bush and tells so-called developers how to do things the right way.

Woman says Galaxy Note 9 burst into flames inside her purse

Found on New York Post on Sunday, 16 September 2018
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Samsung’s highly touted and supposedly fireproof Galaxy Note 9 cellphone spontaneously combusted inside a Long Island woman’s purse, she charges in a lawsuit.

She stopped using the phone and put it in her bag. Suddenly, “she heard a whistling and screeching sound, and she noticed thick smoke” pouring from her purse, she alleges.

You could call it tradition by now.

Google China Prototype Links Searches to Phone Numbers

Found on The Intercept on Saturday, 15 September 2018
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The search engine, codenamed Dragonfly, was designed for Android devices, and would remove content deemed sensitive by China’s ruling Communist Party regime, such as information about political dissidents, free speech, democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest.

Sources familiar with the project said that prototypes of the search engine linked the search app on a user’s Android smartphone with their phone number.

Sources familiar with Dragonfly said the search platform also appeared to have been tailored to replace weather and air pollution data with information provided directly by an unnamed source in Beijing.

Google will do just everything for money, plain and simple. In fact, most globally acting companies do.

Police Move to Clear Treehouse Protest Against Coal Mine in German Forest

Found on The New York Times on Friday, 14 September 2018
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Pushing their way into the heart of a forest that has existed for 12,000 years, where some 60 treehouses have been built over the past six years, thousands of police officers began cutting trees to reach a central community called “Oaktown.”

In recent weeks, environmentalists have drawn attention to the mine, which is operated by the energy company RWE in the Hambach Forest, east of the city of Aachen, in an effort to highlight the disparity between Germany’s pledges to reduce its carbon emissions and uphold its commitments to the Paris climate accord and the country’s heavy use of its only significant natural resource, soft coal, or lignite.

Politicians love to talk about how important green energy is to stop the climate change. Yet when it comes to the point where action is needed, they forget all those talks and promises and side with the energy industry, letting them destroy more and more nature to increase the CO2 levels and thus the global warming; and at the same time those politicans are wondering why people have lost faith and trust in them.

Your new $1,000+ iPhone won’t come with a headphone dongle in the box

Found on Ars Technica on Thursday, 13 September 2018
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Apple is still selling the headphone adapter on its website for its usual $9. The newest iPhones range from $749 outright for the entry-level iPhone XR, which comes with an LCD display and less advanced camera system, to $1,449 outright for an iPhone XS Max with 512GB of built-in storage.

Making the headphone adapter a mandatory purchase for those who still wish to use their traditional headphones will likely push those figures up higher: a recent report from Ceros said that the dongle has been one of the two highest-selling Apple products sold at Best Buy since it became available.

A fool and his money are soon parted. If you have enough money to be wasted on Apple products, enjoy getting ripped off. If you don't and buy them anyway, think again about your ridiculous dedication to brands.

You know all those movies you bought from Apple? Um, well, think different: You didn't

Found on The Register on Wednesday, 12 September 2018
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Biologist Anders Gonçalves da Silva was surprised this week to find three movies he had purchased through iTunes simply disappeared one day from his library.

And Apple told him it no longer had the license rights for those movies so they had been removed. To which he of course responded: Ah, but I didn't rent them, I actually bought them through your "buy" option.

At which point da Silva learnt a valuable lesson about the realities of digital purchases and modern licensing rules: While he had bought the movies, what he had actually paid for was the ability to download the movie to his hard drive.

Once again, pirates are in a better situation than those who use the legal options to get their share of entertainment. The industry really needs to rethink it's business plan if it wants to stay somewhat relevant.

Dust off that old Pentium, Linux fans: It's Elive

Found on The Register on Tuesday, 11 September 2018
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Elive has an impressively low bar to entry, with hardware requirements for the distribution coming in at 256 MB RAM and a 500 MHz CPU, meaning that some very elderly silicon is theoretically going to be able to enjoy the highly polished Enlightenment desktop.

Elive 3.0.0 is certainly a worthy update after eight years of beta releases trickling out from the mostly solo maintainer.

That's quite some dedication; although the Linux market has hundreds of distros, especially the lightweight ones are interesting.

'Climate change moving faster than we are,' says UN Secretary General

Found on on Monday, 10 September 2018
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Mr Guterres painted a grim picture of the impacts of climate change that he says have been felt all over the world this year, with heatwaves, wildfires, storms and floods leaving a trail of destruction.

Despite the fact that the world agreed on a plan to tackle climate change in Paris in 2015, Mr Guterres said the world is way off track to achieve the modest goals of the pact.

Mr Guterres says he is committing himself and the UN to the effort of transforming the political landscape to tame the threat of climate change. He pointed to the forthcoming report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on how to keep the world from warming by more that 1.5 degrees C, which he says will be a sobering assessment.

Earth will take care of it all by itself. Simply with a fever that takes care of the parasites which infected the host.

Microsoft to offer paid Windows 7 Extended Security Updates

Found on ZD Net on Sunday, 09 September 2018
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The paid Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESUs) will be sold on a per-device basis, with the price increasing each year.

"We want to encourage people to get off Windows 7, but we want to make it more than something punitive," he said.

Not punitive? After forcing Windows 10 down the throats of users by annoying them with endless upgrade notices?