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+ - US Christians numbers 'decline sharply', poll finds->

Submitted by gollum123
gollum123 writes: The number of Americans who identify as Christian has fallen nearly eight percentage points in only seven years, according to a new survey.
Pew Research Center found that 71% of Americans identified as Christian in 2014 — down from 78% in 2007.
In the same period, Americans identifying as having no religion grew from 16% to 23%. About 5 million less Americans now identify as Christian compared to when the study was conducted in 2007.
In the South, those not-affiliated with religion — or as the researchers call them, "nones" — rose to 19% of the population, while in the Northeast they climbed to 25%.
In the West "nones" are a larger group than any religion, making up 28% of the public.

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+ - Ubisoft Debuts Assassin's Creed Syndicate Trailer->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid writes: Ubisoft posted a trailer today for the latest installment in the Assassin's Creed franchise, called Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, which will launch first on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 On October 23, and later this fall for the PC. Syndicate is set in Victorian London in the year 1868. The story will revolve around twin gangster assassins: Jacob and Evie Frye. That's right, you'll be able to control either a female or male protagonist to create mayhem. Or as Ubisoft puts it, "You will recruit your gang to fight for justice on behalf of the oppressed working class." Although there will be no multiplayer in Syndicate, players will have the ability to hijack and ride atop carriages and hitch a ride on trains to explore the open world of London. In addition, you'll also be introduced to a revised recruitment system which will allow you to build your gang and take part in massive street brawls.
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+ - MediaTek Goes For Smartphone Bragging Rights With 10-Core Helio X20 SoC->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid writes: MediaTek introduced the first true octa-core mobile processor back in 2013 at a time when most flagship Android smartphones were packing quad-core processors. Today we're learning that, just as today's Android flagships have come around to octa-core CPUs (HTC One M9, Samsung Galaxy S6), MediaTek is preparing to launch a 10-core mobile processor later this year. The MediaTek Helio X20 (MT6795), which is built on a 20nm process, will feature 10 cores bundled into three distinct groupings, aka a "Tri-Cluster." There will be two, quad-core groupings of processors that will handle low-power tasks (four 2GHz Cortex-A53, four 1.4GHz Cortex-A53). The final grouping will include a dual-core, 2.5GHz Cortex-A72 that will handle all the heavy lifting when high performance is required. MediaTek U.S. marketing chief Mohit Bhushan states that the Helio X20 can "run more power efficiently without losing any performance" and can be up to 30 percent more power efficient than ARM's typical big.LITTLE arrangement.
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+ - You've Got Mail: Verizon Scoops Up AOL For $4.4 Billion->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid writes: We learned this weekend that AOL's dial-up business still has over 2 million customers who pay on average just under $21 per month for service. Regardless of how strange that seems to those of us that salivate over the prospects of gigabit Internet, folks are still clinging to 56k modems are adding millions to AOL's bottom line. However, also recall that AOL has a massive digital advertising platform with a heavy focus on the mobile sector and also owns a wealth of popular web destinations including Engadget, TechCrunch, and The Huffington Post. With this in mind, it shouldn't be too surprising that Verizon has offered AOL a marriage proposal. Verizon is acquiring AOL for an estimated $50 per share, which brings the total value of the transaction to $4.4 billion. Verizon is banking on the deal to boost its rollout of LTE wireless video and over-the-top (OTT) video. AOL will also strengthen Verizon's position in the Internet of Things (IoT) market.
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+ - CHIP, World's First $9 Computer Could Give Raspberry Pi A Run For Its Money->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid writes: When the first Raspberry Pi model came out just over three-years-ago, who would have guessed the kind of spark it'd have on the market? Since its release, there have been numerous add-ons available for it, a ton of different software crafted for it, follow-up models, and of course, lots of competition. Up to this point, however, there hasn't been competition quite like 'CHIP'. CHIP is a brand-new device that aims to get some computing power into the hands of anyone, something its mere $9 price tag should help with. Each CHIP sports a 1GHz processor, 512MB of memory, 4GB of storage, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0. CHIP may not boast monsterous performance, but its developers say that it can run a variety of software without issue — even the full-blown LibreOffice office suite. Other examples are VLC, Audacity, GIMP, Transmission, and Chromium.
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+ - Fastest 4.5 Watt Core M 5Y71 In Asus T300 Chi Competitive With Full Core i5 CPUs->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid writes: Asus unveiled its latest addition to the Transformer series at CES in January, the Transformer Book Chi, which just recently began shipping. Available in three sizes, the new Transformer Book Chi Series features a 2-in-1 detachable design. The flagship Transformer Book T300 Chi offers a 12.5-inch screen, an Intel Core M processor, and a fanless cooling solution. The 2-in-1 detachable design employs a magnetic hinge that supports four usage modes: Attached, Detached, Flipped, and Tented. The T300 Chi measures about 0.65 inches when docked, making it slightly thinner than an Apple Macbook Air. Asus claims the T300 Chi is the world's thinnest Windows tablet, measuring just 0.28 inches thick. More interestingly, perhaps, is that Asus built this machine with Intel's fastest Core M chip, the Core M 5Y71. In the benchmarks, it competes well even with full-sized ultrabooks, though battery life does take a hit due to the system's mechanical limitations and smaller 31Whr battery.
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+ - Samsung: WHAT is my SmartTV reporting? To whom? 14

Submitted by NetAlien
NetAlien writes: Being curious about the recent Samsung SmartTV stories, I connected my SmartTV through an old-fashioned HUB (copies all traffic to every port; unlike a switch) to my router. This allowed me to capture all traffic to/from my TV through my laptop's ethernet port. A wireshark capture shows that remote sites are trying to access my TV until I turn it on, then after nearly 7400 packets, it settles down. Then changing channels over ~4.5 minutes results in ~10,000 more packets. The TV continues sending data for several more seconds after the set appears to be off. Multiple servers were contacted in these domains: amazonaws.com, akamaitechnologies.com, cloudfront.net, twitvid.com, pcloud.com, yahoo.com, aclwireless25.com and some by IP address. WHAT are you sharing Samsung???

+ - Book Review: "FreeBSD Mastery: Storage Essentials", by Michael W. Lucas-> 1

Submitted by Saint Aardvark
Saint Aardvark writes: (Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for review. Disclaimer to the disclaimer: I would gladly have paid for it anyway.)

If, like me, you administer FreeBSD systems, you know that (like Linux) there is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to filesystems. GEOM, UFS, soft updates, encryption, disklabels — there is a *lot* going on here. And if, like me, you're coming from the Linux world your experience won't be directly applicable, and you'll be scaling Mount Learning Curve. Even if you *are* familiar with the BSDs, there is a lot to take in. Where do you start?

You start here, with Michael W. Lucas' latest book, "FreeBSD Mastery: Storage Essentials". You've heard his name before; he's written "Sudo Mastery" (which I reviewed previously), along with books on PGP/GnuPGP, Cisco Routers and OpenBSD. This book clocks in at 204 pages of goodness, and it's an excellent introduction to managing storage on FreeBSD. From filesystem choice to partition layout to disk encryption, with sidelong glances at ZFS along the way, he does his usual excellent job of laying out the details you need to know without every veering into dry or boring.

Do you need to know about GEOM? It's in here: Lucas takes your from "What *is* GEOM, anyway?" (answer: FreeBSD's system of layers for filesytem management) through "How do I set up RAID 10?" through "Here's how to configure things to solve that weird edge-case." Still trying to figure out GUID partitions? I sure as hell was...and then I read Chapter Two. Do you remember disklabels fondly, and wonder whatever happened to them? They're still around, but mainly on embedded systems that still use MBR partitions — so grab this book if you need to deal with them.

The discussion of SMART disk monitoring is one of the best introductions to this subject I've ever read, and should serve *any* sysadmin well, no matter what OS they're dealing with; I plan on keeping it around for reference until we no longer use hard drives. RAID is covered, of course, but so are more complex setups — as well as UFS recovery and repair for when you run into trouble.

Disk encryption gets three chapters (!) full of details on the two methods in FreeBSD, GBDE and GELI. But just as important, Lucas outlines why disk encryption might *not* be the right choice: recovering data can be difficult or impossible, it might get you unwanted attention from adversaries, and it will *not* protect you against, say, an adversary who can put a keylogger on your laptop. If it still make sense to encrypt your hard drive, you'll have the knowledge you need to do the job right.

I said that this covers *almost* everything you need to know, and the big omission here is ZFS. It shows up, but only occasionally and mostly in contrast to other filesystem choices. For example, there's an excellent discussion of why you might want to use FreeBSD's plain UFS filesystem instead of all-singing, all-dancing ZFS. (Answer: modest CPU or RAM, or a need to do things in ways that don't fit in with ZFS, make UFS an excellent choice.) I would have loved to see ZFS covered here — but honestly, that would be a book of its own, and I look forward to seeing one from Lucas someday; when that day comes, it will be a great companion to this book, and I'll have Christmas gifts for all my fellow sysadmins.

One big part of the appeal of this book (and Lucas' writing in general) is that he is clear about the tradeoffs that come with picking one solution over another. He shows you where the sharp edges are, and leaves you well-placed to make the final decision yourself. Whether it's GBDE versus GELI for disk encryption, or what might bite you when enabling soft updates journaling, he makes sure you know what you're getting into. He makes recommendations, but always tells you their limits.

There's also Lucas' usual mastery of writing; well-written explanations with liberal dollops of geek humour that don't distract from the knowledge he's dropping. He's clear, he's thorough, and he's interesting — and that's an amazing thing to say about a book on filesystems.

Finally, technical review was done by Poul Henning-Kamp; he's a FreeBSD developer who wrote huge parts of the GEOM and GBDE systems mentioned above. That gives me a lot of warm fuzzies about the accuracy of this book.

If you're a FreeBSD (or Linux, or Unix) sysadmin, then you need this book; it has a *lot* of hard-won knowledge, and will save your butt more than you'll be comfortable admitting. If you've read anything else by Lucas, you also know we need him writing more books. Do the right thing and buy this now.

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