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Comment Re:How does CFW affect the warranty? (Score 1) 182

That is true, but pounding on CTRL-L at power on still works even when not in dev mode.

One can boot an alternative OS with legacy boot from USB, and use that OS to resize the chromeOS partition structure. That would free space for minimal /boot partition (on tiny eMMC based devices), or enough space for a full secondary OS (On devices with an upgraded NGFF ssd), then do a proper install beside normal mode chromeOS.

Just that the default will be "boot to chrome os", instead of "boot legacy OS". Can still have a fully functioning secondary OS deploy along side chrome, with chromeos in normal mode. Just pound the key sequence at power on.

Comment Re:How does CFW affect the warranty? (Score 1) 182

I acknowledged that to do anything fun with a chromebook you DO have to enable dev mode.

The real message was that you do not need to KEEP it in dev mode.

Once you install the legacy boot firmware blob, you can put it back in regular mode. (naturally, it wipes out the dev mode deploy and restart fresh on the OS side, but the legacy package is in the flashrom, not in the ssd, so it will survive. Same with boot options to skip normal chrome boot/force legacy boot as default image.)

Comment Re:Boot, Space, Enter = goodbye data (Score 1) 182


While it requires removing the write protect screw (which means opening the unit, and voiding warranties, (overrated, if you ask me, on a system with no moving parts.) but you use said script to:

1) Remove the bitmaps instructing to press the button combos to do the wipe, replacing with a black screen instead. (wooo.)

2) change the default boot target from chromeos to legacy boot, so that it does not even try to boot chromeos anymore.

3) On supported devices, COMPLETELY REPLACE the bios with UEFI coreboot

4) Install legacy boot firmware (does not require screw removal) to boot actual linux, like GalliumOS.

Really, taking this hardware back from google is a screwdriver and some CLI-fu away.

Comment Re:How does CFW affect the warranty? (Score 1) 182

You can install legacy boot option rom without removing the screw Tepples. :P It's only if you want to muck around inside the rom parameters and other stuff that you need to remove the screw. Also, you normally dont need to disassemble the hinge mechanism to get to the screw. It is usually accessible just after removing the back of the clamshell.

Comment Re:Boot, Space, Enter = goodbye data (Score 1) 182

It is true that you need to put the silly thing into developer mode to do anything "fun" to a chromebook, but the decision to LEAVE it in developer mode is up to you.

There is a custom firmware called MrChromebox, which is fairly painless to install. (you DO need to open the chromebook and remove the write protect screw temporarily to do a full system flash) However, in many cases, you can do a full system rom replacement, which completely removes "Developer mode" altogether. You get a pretty stripped down UEFI implementation of coreboot instead.

I recently did this to an HP chromebook for a coworker, who wanted to use her chromebook as a low-tier windows PC. (Her model has an actual NGFF ssd inside it, rather than the eMMC shit in most modern ones.) She loves the thing post-conversion.

Even if you dont do a full system replacement, you can add the "boot legacy OS" module on, then push some arguments into the flash rom to tell it to skip the key combos, effectively removing the thing you are objecting to. (This is what I have done with my Celes, which does not currently support full UEFI replacement.)

I am digging the shit out of GalliumOS. (A fork of xubuntu tailored specifically for hacked chromebooks.) It works like any other low-tier linux machine, and since my chromebook is x86 based, I am use WINE, and run some limited windows software, as needed. (mostly some older games, like DIablo II and the like.)

If you have a big enough eMMC/NGFF storage inside, you can even dual-boot chromeos and galliumOS. (Just be aware that you will certainly need to use a class 10 microSD card for /home, with tmpfs mounts on commonly written areas, like the browser cache, since the storage inside most chromebooks is in the "16gb total" neighborhood.) For systems with real NGFF SSDs, this can be a real treat, with no real trade-offs.

The basic point here being that you can open the lid on these tin-cans without leaving that "factory wipe" sword of damoclese hanging around. The choice to leave it is entirely on you, as the option to remove it is available.

Comment Re:Nice (Score 1) 111

I would just point out that there are very inexpensive, but not all together bad, smartphones in the 50$ range, that can be loaded with sensible service.

Take for instance, an LG Optimus Zone 3. It's a 45$ prepaid thing on Verizon's network. It *CAN* work on ATT's network after being SIM unlocked, and it can work just fine with something like FreedomPop. (which you can get the SIM card in the mail for 1$. Their lowest level service is literally 0$ a month, as long as you remain inside the 250minutes/500text messages/500mb data use scenario. This is VERY good for poor people, since you can have that cellphone, and the rate is very affordable. (the lowest paid offering is like 20$ a month, for unlimited talk and text, with 500mb data.) FreedomPop uses ATT's LTE network to do its thing, so supporting ATT's frequency band for LTE is all you need.)

Said phone is really not that bad for the price.

4 core 1ghz ARM
1gb RAM
8gb internal storage
Micro SDcard slot

The real question, is what is aimed to be accomplished by getting impoverished people on the internet (errr.. into the advertising revenue stream)? If you are thinking "education and business opportunities" then smartphone/tablet is not the platform that will accomplish that. That platform is almost exclusively created for the latter (Turning a user into a source of unique impressions to make somebody else money.)

Comment Re:So, can they build themselves? (Score 2) 86

The idea is to use the cellular machinery to create a "soup" of precursor molecules inside some larger structure, with appropriate sized orifices, then deliver the reactants in small quantities using ion channel driven pumps, so that the microbots are manufactured through self-assembly. The cell just does some heavy lifting of taking "Large organic food molecules", turning them into more simplistic reactants, and then providing the more controlled environment for assembly.

After that, it may drag them around with a small RNA tag or something to move them to the desired vacuoles.

The DNA side basically just says "Hey, fill this bubble of cell membrane with this aqueous mixture" through the expression of enzymes and proteins.

Comment Re:So, can they build themselves? (Score 5, Interesting) 86

May not need to.

Given the size of the robots in question, and the means by which they are programmed/operated, it would make sense to create artificial gene sequences to use the cellular machinery inside a living cell already to manufacture, and control these molecular robots, as they would be very useful chaperons to enzymes and other proteins. (both are "huge" by comparison, if the statement given in the article is accurate.)

Since they are controlled via submersion in different chemical solutions, the insides of a complex (by this I mean, having real organelles) single celled organism sounds like the ideal place to use and operate these, since the organisms already create vacuoles containing various solutions for a variety of purposes.

Adding them to a cell's toolkit in this way would be a radical advancement in what can be done in petri dishes or glassware. Arbitrary modifications of existing in-vivo protein and enzyme interactions would open a lot of doors.

Comment Re:no thank you (Score 4, Interesting) 55

Hello anonymous chemist, I would think that the more useful application for this enzyme is to convert abundant plant derived fatty acids into suitable high weight molecular precursors for plastic synthesis in a post peak-oil economy, as the costs of crude oil derived hydrocarbons becomes more and more onerous.

Coupled with some of the other inorganic catalysts used in crude refinement (to increase the fraction of lighter alkanes, and thus improve fuel oil yields from paraffin rich crude sources, such as tar sand) it might even be able to partially bolster the demand for fuel oil, but you are correct that it is more economical to just burn the fatty acid in appropriate engines. (Trans-esters of fatty acids, processed with lye and methanol, are the bread and butter of existing biodiesel fuels.)

Comment Re:It's happened to me (Score 2) 108

Firstly, to use a "buffer card" effectively, you plan your purchases. (Yes, that dreaded budgeting thing!) You then load the card, then make the purchase. You dont carry a large balance on the card, just enough to keep it active. It requires that you have some discipline with your online purchasing, but you get some extra protection that way.

If a retailer gets compromised, you lose just that min holding balance, and dont have to miss a day of work to file dispute forms to the sometimes hundreds of merchants claiming you owe them shitloads of money. (since you have to dispute each and every fraudulent charge, you can be there for a very long time doing the dispute process. Been there, done that. Sony Hack got me a few years back.)

Comment Re:It's happened to me (Score 2) 108

Gift cards suck. Get a reloadable visa debit card for them instead. Unlike a gift card that ends up with some fractional amount of a dollar left on it that the company just pockets because you never ever spend it, the card can be reloaded with more cash, and used as a buffer for online purchases. (EG, rather than risk exposure from your retailer's delicious store of credit cards getting hacked and leaked, your real card number is safe. The retailer has the reloadable visa, and when it gets drained, it just gets denied. You dont end up with thousands of dollars of debt that you have to dispute.)

If you are gonna give something, give something with some actual utility yo.

Comment Re:The stuff that comes out of tailpipe is bad (Score 1) 432

Major advances in zinc-air rechargable batteries, and iron based batteries, suggest that high density storage with a low environmental toxicity are reasonably possible. Lead-acid is CURRENTLY the most inexpensive, but it is ALSO the most heavy, and among the least energy dense. Those two things make them very unattractive for the storage medium that replaces fossil fuel, the toxicity of the lead is just icing on that shit cake.

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