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Comment Better hardware support than Linux? (Score 1) 148

Are you kidding? I've found that Illumos is not at all friendly to white-box hardware. Examples:

Some 2-port AHCI cards mysteriously fail after a random amount of time (oops, there goes my L2ARC device until I reboot).
AHCI hot-swap on my motherboard SATA ports is a game of Russian roulette. I'll randomly get write errors on other drives when I slot a drive in. At least hot-swap worked well on my SAS HBA.
Hardware sensors that work fine with lm_sensors on Linux are not at all usable on Illumos, which expects IPMI.
KVM on Illumos? Not if you have an AMD CPU.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally ditched my home OpenIndiana system (was running 151a9) and threw CentOS 7 on it with ZFS from the official ZoL repo. Yeah, it has systemd. So far, I've found that systemd isn't any worse than SMF; I can live with it. Things that wouldn't work in OI work nicely on C7. The ZFS pool imported without a hitch, though I had to rework my sharenfs options and do a little tinkering to get sharesmb to work with Samba. It was worth the effort. I no longer need to use crazy ACLs to get my shares to work as expected, another plus. I might try later to run a ZFS root, but for now I'm using MD-RAID mirrors for the OS itself.

Aside from the better hardware support, a big advantage of CentOS is that I don't have to worry (as much) about something breaking when I update the system. OpenIndiana's new Hipster approach is fine if you're the type who would run Debian Sid on a server, but that's not my style. Add to that, there's no clean upgrade path from 151a9 to Hipster.

I wish them well, but my foray into Solaris-land is over.


Misusing Ethernet To Kill Computer Infrastructure Dead 303

Some attacks on computers and networks are subtle; think Stuxnet. An anonymous reader writes with a report at Net Security of researcher Grigorios Fragkos's much more direct approach to compromising a network: zap the hardware from an unattended ethernet port with a jolt of electricity. Fragkos, noticing that many networks include links to scattered and unattended ethernet ports, started wondering whether those ports could be used to disrupt the active parts of the network. Turns out they can, and not just the ports they connect to directly: with some experimentation, he came up with a easily carried network zapping device powerful enough to send a spark to other attached devices, too, but not so powerful -- at least in his testing -- to set the building on fire. As he explains: I set up a network switch, and over a 5 meters Ethernet cable I connected an old working laptop. Over a 3 meters cable I connected a network HDD and over a 100 meters cable I connected my “deathray” device. I decided to switch on the device and apply current for exactly 2 seconds. The result was scary and interesting as well. The network switch was burned instantly with a little “tsaf” noise. There was also a buzzing noise coming from the devices plugged-in to the network switch, for a less than a second. There was a tiny flash from the network HDD and the laptop stopped working. It is not the cheapest thing in the world to test this, as it took all of my old hardware I had in my attic to run these experiments. I believe the threat from such a high-voltage attack against a computer infrastructure is real and should be dealt with.

Comment High-end phones will always be battery hogs (Score 2) 208

Those fast CPUs/GPUs and large-pixel-count screens are going to suck up the juice. Consider going a notch down instead - a 720p screen and a 4xx series processor can handle things quite nicely. The LG G Stylo has the same battery as the G4, but the battery life is flat-out awesome. With moderately heavy daily use, I rarely see below 60% remaining battery life when I plug it in for the night.

Like the G4, the battery is removable and there is an SD slot.

Keep in mind that the T-Mobile/MetroPCS version is better than the others; it has 2GB RAM/16 GB internal storage vs. 1GB/8GB for other carriers.

The main drawback to the Stylo is that LG purposely crippled the camera; there are very few shooting modes available, and no manual controls, even though it's the same camera hardware as (at least) the G3. Fortunately, XCam LG will run fine on it, even though it was intended for the G3.

Comment Re:Why not both? (Score 1) 239

One potential problem with the typical brushless DC motor is that it has permanent magnets using rare earth elements. The rotor in an induction motor, on the other hand, is just copper and iron. Induction motors can operate on variable frequency as well (the Tesla cars are a very good example of this, as are locomotives with AC traction motors).

Induction vs. brushless is a tradeoff of compactness vs. expensive rare earth elements.


Facebook Wants to Skip the Off-Site Links, Host News Content Directly 51

The Wall Street Journal, in a report also cited by The Next Web and others, reports that Facebook is to soon begin acting not just as a conduit for news links pasted onto users' timelines (and leading to articles hosted elsewhere) but also as a host for the articles themselves. From the WSJ article: To woo publishers, Facebook is offering to change its traditional revenue-sharing model. In one of the models under consideration, publishers would keep all of the revenue from ads they sell on Facebook-hosted news sites, the people familiar with the matter said. If Facebook sells the advertisement, it would keep roughly 30% of the revenue, as it does in many other cases. Another motivation for Facebook to give up some revenue: It hopes the faster-loading content will encourage users to spend more time on its network. It is unclear what format the ads might take, or if publishers will be able to place or measure the ads they sell within Facebook. It seems likely Facebook would want publishers to use its own advertising-technology products, such as Atlas and LiveRail, as opposed to those offered by rivals such as Google Inc.

"Hello Barbie" Listens To Children Via Cloud 163

jones_supa writes For a long time we have had toys that talk back to their owners, but a new "smart" Barbie doll's eavesdropping and data-gathering functions have privacy advocates crying foul. Toymaker Mattel bills Hello Barbie as the world's first "interactive doll" due to its ability to record children's playtime conversations and respond to them, once the audio is transmitted over WiFi to a cloud server. In a demo video, a Mattel presenter at the 2015 Toy Fair in New York says the new doll fulfills the top request that Mattel receives from girls: to have a two-way dialogue. "They want to have a conversation with Barbie," she said, adding that the new toy will be "the very first fashion doll that has continuous learning, so that she can have a unique relationship with each girl." Susan Linn, the executive director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, has written a statement in which she says how the product is seriously creepy and creates a host of dangers for children and families. She asks people to join her in a petition under the proposal of Mattel discontinuing the toy.

Iowa Wants To Let You Carry Your Driver's License On Your Phone 232

An anonymous reader writes: The Iowa Department of Motor Vehicles is busily developing software that will allow users to store the information from their driver's license on their smartphone. It would also add features like a simple barcode to scan for information transfer, and two-factor authentication to access it. "At first thought, the idea seems rife with potential security and privacy issues. It is well known at this point that nothing is unhackable; and if a project is made on a government contracting schedule, the likelihood of a breach is only greater. ... Questions of security, however, must take into account context – and there, it can be argued that our current regimes of physical documents have been an enormous failure. Having every state choose their own approach for issuing IDs has led to patchwork regulations and glaring weak points in the system that criminals have repeatedly taken advantage of. Driver's licenses today are regularly forged, stolen, and compromised – it’s far from a secure situation."

Comment Re:Wow - Sony are imploding (Score 5, Interesting) 65

I always thought that Sony's acquisition of Columbia Pictures and CBS Records were long-term colossal mistakes.

Old Sony: made cool stuff, fought tooth and nail for consumer rights (example: the Betamax case that went to the Supreme Court).
New Sony: all about DRM and lock-in, fights tooth and nail against consumer rights.

I liked the old Sony better.

Comment B+ fixed the USB problems (Score 3, Interesting) 355

What's with all the ACs in this thread, anyway? Yes, the original A/B models had crappy USB, but the A+/B+ have much-improved circuitry, to the point that for most things you'll never need to bother with adding a hub.

I set up a B+ as a Bluetooth audio streaming box, and, while running off a 1000 mA power supply, the USB is stout enough to power a keyboard, mouse, Bluetooth dongle, and a Focusrite USB audio interface, all plugged into the onboard USB ports. That would have never worked on the older model.

We all like praise, but a hike in our pay is the best kind of ways.