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Submission + - My cloud, my cloud, my kingdom for a cloud.

An anonymous reader writes: I move a lot. As such, I need infrastructure that moves with me. I'm the scholarly type. I've been studying infrastructure and IT for the last 11 years, on and off, as my hacking lifecycle permits. I have had the opportunity to apply my knowledge in three different government positions that, while impressive, put a major target on my back, due to the nature of the work, and the employer, in this NSA age, both as a retiree, and as a veteran.

I love Linux, but I love UNIX a lot more. I have six machines in my posession, some servers, some clients, some DIY, and a PlayStation 2 loaded with Linux. I find this diaspora of hardware to be too much of a burden, with some of the hardware non-replaceable. My computing experience needs to evolve. My choice is simple:

Consolidate and get my feet wet in cloud computing.

I have a desktop machine with mostly gaming hardware and massive specs that I starting building three years ago. Loaded with the appropriate hardware, this monster machine makes the perfect platform to station all of my base. I need to consolidate all of my resources. I need the following infrastructure on a host:

FreeBSD => Email, HTTP
Debian Wheezy => WINE gaming (xen-pciback'd to my video card) (Primarily Final Fantasy XI)
FreeBSD => LDAP+Kerberos
OpenBSD => NFS+Samba (this will require a large softraid array)

Obviously, I will want to choose Linux for a Xen kernel. Placement of hardware is also an issue. Do I pay for a commercial account from new ISP and host it at home, or do I opt for colocation? I will be using a Raspberry Pi to interface with the environment for a little longer, until money allows me to get an Odroid. If I colocate, then the operator will be forced to turn my machine over at the whim of an NSL. That cannot be. I am too big a fan of privacy.

This setup is only meant to serve me and any of my friends and family who take a gander at my digital adventuring. As I transition into software development, this can also serve as a platform to try out new things. This should also help to stop me from re-imaging all my machines every two weeks.

Has anyone thought of something like this before? My retirement check can support this, and I am willing. My questions are:

Recommendations for colocation in Dallas?
Suggested reading?
What risks am I looking at?
What did I miss?
Can I wrap this in a software VPN gateway?
What would be the lifespan of such a project?
If this is successful, how can I expand on it?

Submission + - The Electric Tractor - Is this the Zero Emission Vehicle Killer App? 1

AttillaTheNun writes: Steve Heckeroth has a long and storied history as an innovator in the Electric Vehicle (EV) industry, focusing initially on passenger vehicles (including a converted porsche spider). Numerous obstacles that have stalled development in this area, primarily in the form of regulatory lobbyists and patent control by the entrenched players led him to pursue an industry in which the primary technical limitation in the passenger vehicle domain — battery weight — becomes an advantage, in the form of additional traction. He soon became the largest electric tractor manufacturer in the world, and continues to innovate in this field. An example of his work:

While the media and investor focus is on Elon Musk's attempt to disrupt the passenger vehicle industry, could farm machinery be the thin edge of the wedge towards an EV breakthrough?

Submission + - Apple's Revenge: iMessage Might Eat Your Texts If You Switch To Android (

redletterdave writes: When my best friend upgraded from an iPhone 4S to a Galaxy S4, I texted her hello. Unfortunately, she didn't get that text, nor any of the five I sent in the following three days. My iPhone didn't realize she was now an Android user and sent all my texts via iMessage. It wasn't until she called me about going to brunch that I realized she wasn’t getting my text messages. What I thought was just a minor bug is actually a much larger problem. One that, apparently, Apple has no idea how to fix. Apple said the company is aware of the situation, but it’s not sure how to solve it. One Apple support person said: 'This is a problem a lot of people are facing. The engineering team is working on it but is apparently clueless as to how to fix it. There are no reliable solutions right now — for some people the standard fixes work immediately; many others are in my boat.'

Game of Thrones Author George R R Martin Writes with WordStar on DOS 522

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: "Ryan Reed reports that when most Game of Thrones fans imagine George R.R. Martin writing his epic fantasy novels, they probably picture the author working on a futuristic desktop (or possibly carving his words onto massive stones like the Ten Commandments). But the truth is that Martin works on an outdated DOS machine using '80s word processor WordStar 4.0, as he revealed during an interview on Conan. 'I actually like it,' says Martin. 'It does everything I want a word processing program to do, and it doesn't do anything else. I don't want any help. I hate some of these modern systems where you type a lower case letter and it becomes a capital letter. I don't want a capital. If I wanted a capital, I would have typed a capital. I know how to work the shift key.' 'I actually have two computers,' Martin continued. 'I have a computer I browse the Internet with and I get my email on, and I do my taxes on. And then I have my writing computer, which is a DOS machine, not connected to the Internet.'"

Submission + - Record Number of Women in Software Development

Esther Schindler writes: The number of females in software development has increased by 87% since first being measured in 2001, according to Evans Data’s recently released Developer Marketing 2014 survey. In 2014, 19.3% of software developers are women, or approximately three and a half million female software developers worldwide. While today’s number is strong compared to 2001, it is even stronger compared to the years of 2003 to 2009 when the percent of female developers dipped into the single digit range. The survey of over 450 software developers, which is now in its fifteenth year, also shows that today’s female software developers tend to be younger than their male counterparts with just over 40% being under the age of thirty.

As one of those women-in-tech, I gotta say, Huzzah!

Submission + - Why You Might Want to Pay the "Apple Tax" On an iPad Charger

An anonymous reader writes: I don't own an iPad, but if I did, I am in the demographic (cheapskates, skinflints, optimists) likely to consider buying a cheap replacement charger if I lost the original. This blog post does a good job of explaining why I might be an idiot to do so, and also offers a well-illustrated crash course (for non-engineers) on some of the components crammed into a tiny switching power-supply, which makes the higher price of the genuine article seem totally justified. On the other hand, of the cheap laptop chargers I've had, only one of them sparked, crackled, and smoked ...

Submission + - Medialink Sues Redditor Who Wrote Negative Review on Amazon

An anonymous reader writes: The review written by the redditor in question happened to be ranked as the most helpful critical review on Amazon for the Medialink router it was written for. The current review is updated to reflect the libel suit, but in his original review, the redditor claimed that most if not all of the positive reviews are fake and that the product is actually a re-branded version of a much cheaper router also sold on Amazon. '[T]hink about it,' he wrote, 'They only sell these routers on Amazon, so the whole success of their company depends on Amazon reviews.' Medialink's lawyers have informed him that litigation will only be avoided if he deletes his Amazon review, stops posting negative reviews of any Medialink products, and no longer buys Medialink products at all.

Submission + - Woman Banned for Wanting a Safe Space Within Star Citizen Community (

snarfies writes: Gameranx reports that a woman was banned from Star Citizen for trying to start a safe place for females within the game. She was banned for "trolling" and told that she could only attempt to appeal her ban through customer support, and if she attempted to do so the ban would be made permanent. Anyone else who has asked about this incident has also been banned. She details her entire experience, along with screencaps of the entire thread and the official responses she has recieved, on her page.

Ben Lesnick has been contacted through his Twitter, and says he will look into the matter.

Submission + - Students "Bootstrap" Algebra From Video Games

BrownComputerScience writes: by Kevin Stacey (Science News Officer, Physical Sciences)

Middle school teacher Adam Newall calls it “the eternal question” of introductory algebra. As students tread water in a sea of variables, functions, and graphs, they’re bound to ask it: “When are we ever going to use any of this?”

But Newall, who teaches at Pembroke Community Middle School in Pembroke, Mass., is hearing that question a lot less often lately. He’s using a new curriculum in his seventh and eighth grade math classes that answers it right off the bat — and in a way that kids find hard to resist.

The curriculum, called Bootstrap, teaches students to program their own video games — a task that just happens to require understanding and applying fundamental concepts of algebra. Newall says the approach does wonders, engaging students in a subject from which they might otherwise shy away.

“The idea of making a video game is the allure,” he said. “But it opens [students] to the idea that they can learn math, and it’s not something that’s meant to torture people. They learn that math is something that is real and relevant and that they can use it.”

Bootstrap is a group effort of Emmanuel Schanzer, a former computer programmer turned math teacher and now a Ph.D. student in the Harvard Graduate School of Education; Kathi Fisler, professor of computer science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute; and Shriram Krishnamurthi, professor of computer science at Brown. It builds on two decades of work done at Northeastern, Brown, and other universities.

Middle school kids ”go from saying, ‘Math is hard,’ to saying, ‘I can’t do math.’ ... We’d like to get to them before they make that decision.”The curriculum started as a 10-week after-school program, which has been taught successfully around the country for six years. Now, based on the success of the after-school experience, Bootstrap is transitioning into an in-school program. The Bootstrap organization has set up training seminars for teachers around the country, and a few schools — like Newall’s Pembroke Community Middle School — are already using the curriculum. Two new partnerships promise to bring Bootstrap to many more schools., a national nonprofit that aims to expand computer science instruction in public schools, recently named Bootstrap as its official middle school math curriculum. CSNYC, a New York City-based group with similar goals, has adopted Bootstrap as well. This summer, as rolls out its national curriculum, the Bootstrap team will give additional training seminars to teachers all over the country interested in trying Bootstrap.

More than just fun and games

While the educators are mostly interested in the underlying math concepts, for the students, it’s the games they create that are the stars of the show.

“The whole curriculum is a sequence of steps that get you to the point where you have a working game at the end,” Krishnamurthi said. “Once we tell them they’re going to make their own game, the motivation is done. We don’t have to say any more.”

Conceptually the games are fairly simple (though surprisingly addictive). Students choose a main character, a goal for that character to reach, and a danger to avoid. Then the students learn a simple programming language to put it all in motion. And that’s where algebra comes in.

For example, in order for the program to know if a character has reached her goal or been stymied by an obstacle, the relative positions of objects must be plotted on a Cartesian grid.

“To do that, we’re going to need to know the Pythagorean theorem,” Newall said. “To understand the Pythagorean theorem we need to know square roots and squares. And [the students] will follow a lesson on how those things work in order to make it work in their game. They’re so eager to own that.”

When all is said and done, each student has a game to show off to friends and a working understanding of variables, functions, and other fundamental algebra concepts that align with Common Core math standards.

Right skills, right time

One of the reasons Krishnamurthi is so eager to get the curriculum into more middle school classes is that it catches kids at a crucial time.

“Research has found that kids change the way they talk about math right around this age,” he said. “They go from saying, ‘math is hard,’ to saying, ‘I can’t do math.’ And that’s the point where kids make the decision to drop out of algebra. When they do, they’ve actually made a career decision without even knowing it, because there’s nothing you can do in a STEM field without algebra. We’d like to get to them before they make that decision to drop out, so they at least have they can keep their options open.”

But algebra isn’t the only thing students learn through Bootstrap. They also become familiar with ins and outs of coding, a crucial skill in an increasingly digital world. When students present their games to their classmates, they’re also expected to stand up and explain the code that makes it work — an exercise software engineers call a code review.

“I do code reviews with my college students,” Krishnamurthi said. “They are one of the most challenging experiences a college student can have. It’s a hard-core professional skill. We teach it to middle schoolers as a natural part of our curricular design.”

The first time Newall taught the class, those code reviews were given at a launch party at semester’s end.

“The superintendent came; parents came. Just the amount of celebration from kids making a one-screen, side scrolling video game was more than I had ever anticipated,” Newall said.

And as for that eternal math class question, Newall says his Bootstrap students are now asking a new question.

“They go from, ‘What are we going to use this for?’ to ‘What are we going to use this for next?’”

Submission + - Canonical Halts Ubuntu For Android Development 1

rjmarvin writes: In a since-removed bug report on Launchpad, Ubuntu’s issue tracker, Canonical’s Matthew Paul Thomas stated that Ubuntu for Android is no longer in active development. In a statement, Canonical stated that while the project is not completely dead, Canonical is currently focusing on pushing Ubuntu for Phones. The company is open to working with partners on Ubuntu for Android, but will not proceed with further U4A development unless they can form a partnership with an OEM partner to launch it.The Ubuntu for Android project was first announced in early 2012.

Submission + - OpenBSD 5.5 Released today. (

Ayourk writes: In the midst of all the OpenSSL problems, it appears OpenBSD was released today. I just refreshed the page a few minutes ago and saw the new home page.

Submission + - Google Alledgedly Stealing From AdSense Accounts ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: A pastebin posted today is quicly accumulating thousands of views and raising some interesting questions.
Alledgedly a leak by a former Google employee, it describes how Google is stealing money from AdSense publishers. Accounts who accumulate too much money per month are quicly banned for any reason just before the payout date, and all appeals are rejected.
This "new policy" would have started in 2009.

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