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Submission + - SPAM: What Is a Rain Sensor? Is It Working?

pearsonsprinkler writes: A rain and freeze sensor is a wireless sensor that is mounted to your house and communicates with your sprinkler system’s controller.It is typically mounted to the gutter or fascia of the house and is located in an area that is not blocked by tree limbs, leaves or other obstructions such as sheds, other portions of the roof, etc.
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Submission + - SPAM: Uses for Drip Irrigation

pearsonsprinkler writes: Because these restrictions were in place last summer, and continue to be until further notice, drip irrigation is beginning to become an alternative that many people are becoming more and more interested in for their gardens, flowerbeds and foundations.
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Submission + - SPAM: Preparing Your Sprinkler System for Spring

pearsonsprinkler writes: March is the time when most people begin cleaning up their yards and getting their flower beds ready for spring planting. Before planting new vegetation, it is very important that the sprinkler system is turned on and any necessary repairs conducted before the plants go in the ground.
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Submission + - Landscape Lighting Plano TX Installed on your Residential Property (

pearsonsprinkler writes: We believe that there are three main reasons to have landscape or outdoor lighting installed on your residential property: to showcase your home, to provide security for your home, and to provide safety for your home. The latter two reasons generally come to fruition for homeowners following an accident or criminal activity either at their own home, or at a family, friend or neighbor’s home.

Submission + - Google Launches its GoDaddy Killer writes: Kieren McCarthy reports at The Register that Google has finally launched a domain-name shop, providing a clean and simple management interface that will put Google in direct competition with market leader GoDaddy. Google became an ICANN-accredited registrar back in 2005, and it first told of its Google Domains plans in June 2014. Domains will cost between $12 to $30 to register, and $12 a year to renew. Google's offering will include support for a number of standard features, like free private registration, free email forwarding to your Gmail inbox, free domain forwarding, support for up to 100 sub-domains, and support for the growing number of new domain endings (like .guru and .club) that are now emerging.

There had been speculation that Google would offer domains from its own registry (.google) for free. That, combined with free hosting, email, cloud storage, chat services and domain management, could see the company up-end the registrar market in a similar way to what it did with Gmail and the hosted email world. For its part, GoDaddy has been a target of ire for many in the tech community since GoDaddy officially voiced its support for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) Bill in 2012. Although GoDaddy later recanted its position, thousands of domain owners switched registrars in protest.

Submission + - Is 'SimCity' Homelessness a Bug or a Feature? (

sarahnaomi writes: SimCity players have discussed a variety of creative strategies for their virtual homelessness problem. They’ve suggested waiting for natural disasters like tornadoes to blow the vagrants away, bulldozing parks where they congregate, or creating such a woefully insufficient city infrastructure that the homeless would leave on their own.

You can read all of these proposed final solutions in Matteo Bittanti's How to Get Rid of Homelessness, "a 600-page epic split in two volumes documenting the so-called 'homeless scandal' that affected 2013's SimCity." Bittanti collected, selected, and transcribed thousands of these messages exchanged by players on publisher Electronic Arts' official forums, Reddit, and the largest online SimCity community Simtropolis, who experienced and then tried to "eradicate" the phenomenon of homelessness that "plagued" SimCity.

Submission + - Exploring Some Lesser-Known Scripting Languages ( 1

Nerval's Lobster writes: Scripting languages are used in everything from games and Web pages to operating-system shells and general applications, as well as standalone scripts. While many of these scripting languages are common and open to modification, there are some interesting, open-source ones that are worth a look, even if they don't have the substantial audience of some of the popular ones. Wren, Candle, Fancy, Pikt, and PPL all show what a single developer can do if they set out with enough motivation to create open-source scripting languages. The results often prove surprisingly powerful.

Submission + - Encryption is Not the Enemy

Trailrunner7 writes: There are few things scarier these days than a politician stepping in front of a microphone, taking a deep breath and opening his mouth to pontificate on security. A long list of American elected officials have reinforced this, and on Monday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron jumped to the head of this undistinguished line with his dangerous statement that encrypted communications shouldn’t be allowed.

Cameron, speaking in the wake of the terror attack in Paris last week, said at an event Monday that the UK government can’t allow any form of communication that can’t be read.

“Are we going to allow a means of communications which it simply isn’t possible to read?” Cameron said, according to the New York Times. “My answer to that question is: ‘No, we must not.’ “

Aside from the specter of attackers identifying and exploiting an intentional backdoor, there is the problem of trying to bend software makers to the will of the government. Even if by some miracle the backdoor proposal succeeds, the government still would face the hurdle of getting software makers such as Apple to prevent secure communications apps from showing up in their app store. Apple does what Apple wants and generally not much else. And, as Doctorow says, how would Cameron address the global open source community, which produces much of the secure communications software?

These kinds of systems just flat don’t work.

“It won’t work. The basic problem with these proposals is they work against regular people who don’t care. But to make it work, you have to close the loopholes,” cryptographer Bruce Schneier, CTO of Co3 Systems, said in an interview. “If you can’t do that, you don’t hurt the bad guys, you only hurt the good guys. It plays well on TV to someone who doesn’t understand the tech. Everything works against my grandmother, but nothing works against professionals.”

Submission + - China's Engineering Mega-Projects Dwarf the Great Wall writes: David Barboza has an interesting article in the NYT about China's engineering megaprojects like the world’s longest underwater tunnel that will run twice the length of the one under the English Channel, and bore deep into one of Asia’s active earthquake zones, creating a rail link between two northern port cities, Dalian and Yantai. Throughout China, equally ambitious projects with multibillion-dollar price tags are already underway. The world’s largest bridge. The biggest airport. The longest gas pipeline. Such enormous infrastructure projects are a Chinese tradition. From the Great Wall to the Grand Canal and the Three Gorges Dam, this nation for centuries has used colossal public-works projects to showcase its engineering prowess and project its economic might. In November, for example, the powerful National Development and Reform Commission approved plans to spend nearly $115 billion on 21 supersize infrastructure projects, including new airports and high-speed rail lines. “Clearly, China’s cost advantages are going to shrink somewhat over the longer-term and prices for projects are only going to rise," says Victor Chuan Chen. "I think the government has done an admirable job in getting many of these projects off the ground while the economics were still very favorable.” China is pushing the boundaries of infrastructure-building, with ever bolder proposals. The Dalian tunnel looks small compared with the latest idea to build an “international railway” that would link China to the United States by burrowing under the Bering Strait and creating a tunnel between Russia and Alaska.

But whether China really needs this much big infrastructure — or can even afford it — is a contentious issue. Some economists worry that China might eventually be mired in enormous debt (PDF) and many experts say such projects also exact a heavy toll on local communities and the environment, as builders displace people, clear forests, reroute rivers and erect dams. “It makes sense to accelerate infrastructure spending during a downturn, when capital and labor are underemployed,” says David Dollar. But “if the growth rate is propped up through building unnecessary infrastructure, eventually there could be a sharp slowdown that reveals that the infrastructure was really not needed at all.”

Submission + - Phony USB Charger Masquerades as Wireless Keylogger ( 3

msm1267 writes: Hardware hacker and security researcher Samy Kamkar has released a slick new device that masquerades as a typical USB wall charger but in fact houses a keylogger capable of recording keystrokes from nearby wireless keyboards.

The device is known as KeySweeper and Kamkar has released the source code and instructions for building one of your own. The components are inexpensive and easily available, and include an Arduino microcontroller, the charger itself and a handful of other bits. When it’s plugged into a wall socket, the KeySweeper will connect to a nearby Microsoft wireless keyboard and passively sniff, decrypt and record all of the keystrokes and send them back to the operator over the Web.

Submission + - PC Shipments Are Slowly Recovering

mrspoonsi writes: Over the past two years, the growing popularity of mobile devices has eaten into PC sales. A new report by Gartner, however, shows that shipments may continue to enjoy a very slow but steady uptick this year as tablet sales hit a peak. The research firm found that worldwide PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2014 grew one percent year-over-year, the first increase since 2012. In the U.S., PC shipments increased 13.1 percent year-over-year, the fastest increase in four years, thanks to holiday purchases. Inexpensive laptops (about $200 to $300), thin and light notebooks, and laptops with a detachable screen helped drive growth. Lenovo continued to be the number one PC maker in terms of shipment volume, with a 19.4 percent marketshare.

Submission + - The Experimental Malware That Can Take Down Any Mac Made After 2011 (

sarahnaomi writes: Anyone who’s suffered the indignity of scrubbing, scanning, and restoring their files after a brush with malware knows that computer viruses suck. But whatever you’ve encountered, it’s likely not as bad as Thunderstrike. It’s the worst kind of malware there is.

Thunderstrike is a new proof-of-concept attack on Mac computers that was unveiled by programmer and hardware hacker Trammell Hudson at the annual Chaos Communication Congress last month—a well-known conference in Germany attended by hackers and digital activists worldwide. What makes Thunderstrike so different from your typical malware infection isn't how it's installed, but where.

Submission + - Russia says drivers must not have 'sex disorders' 2

mrspoonsi writes: Russia has listed transsexual and transgender people among those who will no longer qualify for driving licences. Fetishism, exhibitionism and voyeurism are also included as "mental disorders" now barring people from driving. The government says it is tightening medical controls for drivers because Russia has too many road accidents. "Pathological" gambling and compulsive stealing are also on the list. Russian psychiatrists and human rights lawyers have condemned the move. The announcement follows international complaints about Russian harassment of gay-rights activists.

Submission + - Little-Known Programming Languages That Actually Pay (

Nerval's Lobster writes: There is no shortage of programming languages, from the well-known ones (Java and C++) to the outright esoteric (intended just for research or even humor). While the vast majority of people learn to program the most-popular ones, the lesser-known programming languages can also secure you a good gig in a specific industry. Which languages? Client-server programming with Opa, Salesforce's APEX language, Mathematica and MATLAB, ASN.1, and even MIT's App Inventor 2 all belong on that list, according to developer Jeff Cogswell. On the other hand, none of these languages really have broad adoption; ASN.1 and SMI, for example, are primarily used in telecommunications and network management. So is it really worth taking the time to learn a new, little-used language for anything other than the thrills?

"Love your country but never trust its government." -- from a hand-painted road sign in central Pennsylvania