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Submission + - Replacement for Mozilla Thunderbird? 3

maxcelcat writes: I've used Thunderbird for about a decade, and Netscape Mail before that (I have an email from 1998 from Marc Andreessen, welcoming me to Netscape Email, telling me different fonts can add impact to my emails).

Thunderbird has served me well, but it's getting long in the tooth.

Given the lack of development and the possibility that it's going End of Life, what should I use instead? I have multiple email accounts and an archive of sixteen years of email. I could get a copy of Outlook, but I don't like it.

Things I like about Thunderbird:
  • Supports multiple email accounts
  • Simple interface
  • Storage structure is not one monolithic file
  • Plain Text email editor
  • Filtering

Things I don't like:

  • HTML email editor
  • Folders are hard to change and re-arrange

Submission + - Busybox Deletes systemd Support

ewhac writes: On 22 October, in a very terse commit message, Busybox removed its support for the controversial 'systemd' system management framework. The commit was made by Denys Vlasenko, and passed unremarked on the Busybox mailing lists. Judging from the diffs, system log integration is the most obvious consequence of the change.

Submission + - This $9 computer might be more useful than Raspberry Pi (networkworld.com)

colinneagle writes: A small team of engineers and artists that make up Next Thing Co. launched a Kickstarter campaign today for Chip, their $9 single-board computer that boasts Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a larger processor than Raspberry Pi's most powerful models.

The tiny device runs a 1 GHz R8 ARM processor, and comes with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage. In comparison, the Raspberry Pi B and B+ models feature a 900 MHz quad-core ARM Cortex 7 processor. The Chip comes with a built-in composite output to connect to monitors and supports adapters for VGA or HDMI. It runs Debian Linux and comes preloaded with the Scratch programming language for those who might be new to coding.

Most noteworthy, though, is the Pocket Chip – a small device with a crude-looking screen and hard-key keyboard that plugs into the Chip and makes for portable computing. It may not be an iPhone killer, but it's an impressively inexpensive mobile form factor.

Submission + - How many fundamental constants does it take to describe our Universe?

StartsWithABang writes: Our Universe is the way it is for two reasons: the initial conditions that it started off with, and the fundamental particles, interactions and laws that govern it. When it comes to the physical properties of everything that exists, we can ask ourselves how many fundamental, dimensionless constants or parameters it takes to give us a complete description of everything we observe. Surprisingly, the answer is 26 (not 42), and there are a few things that remain unexplained, even with all of them.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: After TrueCrypt (slashdot.org)

TechForensics writes: (Resubmitted because was not identified as "Ask Slashdot"

We all know the TrueCrypt story-- a fine, effective encryption program beginning to achieve wide use. When you see how the national security agency modified this tool so they could easily overcome it, you'll probably understand why they don't complain about PGP anymore. The slip that showed what was happening was the information that NSA "were really ticked about TrueCrypt" either because they couldn't circumvent it or found it too difficult. From the standpoint of privacy advocates, NSA's dislike for TrueCrypt was evidence it was effective.

Next, NSA directly wrapped up the makers of TrueCrypt in legal webs that made them insert an NSA backdoor and forbade them from revealing it was there. It's only because of the cleverness of the TrueCrypt makers the world was able to determine for itself that TrueCrypt was now compromised. (Among other things, though formerly staunch privacy advocates, the makers discontinued development of TrueCrypt and recommended something like Microsoft Bitlocker, which no one with any sense believes could be NSA – hostile. It then became logically defensible, since NSA was not complaining about PGP or other encryption programs, to posit they had already been compromised.

This is the situation we have: all of the main are important encryption programs are compromised at least in use against the federal government. Whether NSA tools are made available to local law enforcement is not known. This all begs the question:

Does the public now have *any* encryption that works? Even if we can see the source code of the encryption algorithm the source code of the program employing that algorithm must be considered false. (TrueCrypt was the only program NSA complained about.) In the case of other software, it becomes believable the NSA has allowed to be published only source code that hides their changes, and the only way around that may be to check and compile the published code yourself. Half the public probably doesn't bother.

Okay, Slashdot, what do you think? Where do we stand? And what ought we to do about it?We all know the TrueCrypt story-- a fine, effective encryption program beginning to achieve wide use. When you see how the national security agency modified this tool so they could easily overcome it, you'll probably understand why they don't complain about PGP anymore. The slip that showed what was happening was the information that NSA "were really ticked about TrueCrypt" either because they couldn't circumvent it or found it too difficult. From the standpoint of privacy advocates, NSA's dislike for TrueCrypt was evidence it was effective.

Next, NSA directly wrapped up the makers of TrueCrypt in legal webs that made them insert an NSA backdoor and forbade them from revealing it was there. It's only because of the cleverness of the TrueCrypt makers the world was able to determine for itself that TrueCrypt was now compromised. (Among other things, though formerly staunch privacy advocates, the makers discontinued development of TrueCrypt and recommended something like Microsoft Bitlocker, which no one with any sense believes could be NSA–hostile. It then became logically defensible, since NSA was not complaining about PGP or other encryption programs, to posit they had already been vitiated.

This is the situation we have: all of the main or important encryption programs are compromised at least in use against the federal government. Whether NSA tools are made available to local law enforcement is not known. This all begs the question:

Does the public now have *any* encryption that works? Even if we can see the source code of the encryption algorithm the source code of the program employing that algorithm must be considered tainted. (TrueCrypt was the only program NSA complained about.) In the case of other software, it becomes believable the NSA has allowed to be published only source code that hides their changes, and the only way around that may be to check and compile the published code yourself. Half the public probably doesn't bother. (Would it not be possible for the NSA to create a second TrueCrypt that has the same hash value as the original?)

Okay, Slashdot, what do you think? Where do we stand? And what ought we to do about it?

Hardware

Submission + - Blizzard is selling old World of Warcraft servers (geek.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Blizzard Entertainment has found a sure fire way to raise a lot of money for charity. The developer has decided to sell off around 350 retired HP p-Class server blades on eBay to the highest bidder. Each one has spent time helping to keep World of Warcraft online, and there’s a good chance if you’re a long-time player of the MMO you’ve set foot on one of these blades.

Blizzard is classing the servers as having been honorably discharged from service and has turned them into collectors’ items. Each one has a plaque stating the WoW realm name it served along with the month and year of its active duty. There is also a description of why the blade servers are so important to the game, and the signatures of the World of Warcraft team have been included at the bottom.

Submission + - Sweet Portal Video with Real Actor (youtube.com)

Jake Dodgie writes: "dantrachtenberg1 has posted an awesome Portal Video with the protagonist trapped in a room.
She frees herself by solving a puzzle on the wall that giver her access to Apatures favorite toy.
The action and representation of the portal effect has been done very nicely."

Biotech

Submission + - Redesigning ecstasy as potent cancer treatment (gizmag.com)

cylonlover writes: Six years ago, researchers at the University of Birmingham discovered that more than half of the cancers of white blood cells they looked at responded in the test tube to the growth-suppressing properties of psychotropic drugs, including amphetamine derivatives such as ecstasy and weight-loss pills, and antidepressants such as fluoxetine (Prozac). Building on this previous work, the researchers have now discovered a modified form of MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, they claim has 100 times more cancer-busting properties than the designer drug itself.

Submission + - Deus Ex: Human Revolution, A Successful Sequel? (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: "Eleven years ago, now-defunct developer Ion Storm released Deus Ex and made video game history. Part of what won Deus Ex such acclaim back then was its open-ended approach to problem solving. Virtually every mission could be approached from stealth or with reckless abandon. The game's plot is a fusion of classic conspiracy theories and a referendum on what it means to be human. The problems of humanity in 2052 — plague, environmental destruction, rampant terrorism — were far enough away in time to be comfortable, but close enough to be unsettling. Therecently released sequel, Deus Ex: Human Revolution isn't a perfect smash hit, nor was the original but the game play is fun and the graphics impressive with DX11 effects turned up. Frame rates with a solid mainstream graphics card should be decent, though level load times can be lengthy and even hinder playbility, if you're trying to crack a tough level and have to reload often. However, the game transcends its flaws. If you liked the original Deus Ex, or you think you'd like it based on its description, it probably makes sense to pick this one up."
Patents

Submission + - EU 'Unitary Patents' could mean software patents (guardian.co.uk)

chebucto writes: RMS has an article up at the Guardian about the proposed EU Unitary Patent system, which would make any patent issued by the European Patent Office (EPO) valid in all of the EU except for Spain and Italy. The unitary patent system would remove national jurisdiction over patents, leaving the European Court of Justice (the ECJ — the highest court in Europe) as the only body with appeal power over EPO decisions. There's a real chance that patent policy throughout much of Europe will be decided by an organization that's shown, in practice, that it supports software patents.

Submission + - Refusing to show ID and recording TSA is legal (techdirt.com) 1

Cowmonaut writes: TechDirt is reporting that Phillip Mocek has been acquitted by a jury. For those of you who do not know, Mocek refused to show his ID to the TSA to board a flight, as his legal right. The TSA disputed this and charged him with four misdemeanors (disorderly conduct, concealing his identity, refusing to obey a police officer, and criminal trespass) when he persisted and recorded the incident. It's sad that its news when someone stands up to something as basic as the TSA thuggery, and more depressing that its news when its upheld in court.
Nintendo

Submission + - Goldeneye Source released (tekgoblin.com) 2

tekgoblin writes: Were you a fan of the original Goldeneye on N64? Well this 5 year Half-Life 2 mod called GoldenEye Source has just come out of beta and fully released free. The game is a fan-made creation with the objective to bring the original experiences from GoldenEye on N64 back to life. I remember spending hours upon hours playing Goldeneye on the N64 and was sad seeing it go.
Book Reviews

Submission + - Create a social network with Joomla and JoomSocial

David Taiaroa writes: I was pleased to recieve a review copy of Joomla! Social Networking with JomSocial – Enhance your social networking with JomSocial by Beatrice A. Boateng and Kwasi Boateng. I've worked with many Joomla! extensions, but not with any of the social network options, so I was able to approach this book as someone learning about the topic for the first time.

The book is a well rounded and practical look at how to create a social network website using Joomla! and the JoomSocial extension, covering everything from installing Joomla! itself, to installing and configuring JoomSocial and other complementary extensions, some discussion of what makes a social networking site successful, and even an introduction to customising Joomla! templates.

The book starts with thorough instructions on how to install XAMPP on a local computer, then Joomla! itself. I thought these detailed instructions on creating a development environment on a local computer were well done, and could easily be followed by someone new to Joomla!

Installing the JoomSocial component follows the same proceedure as for any other Joomla! extension. The real work begins configuring the component and it's many plugins and modules. I think even experienced Joomla! professionals will find time saving suggestions in this section of the book. JoomSocial is a complex component, and without a good road map of where you are going and an overview of how everything fits together, you could have a lot of trial and error. This was one area of the book in particular which I think will be of interest to experienced and novice Joomla! users alike.

Clear instructions are given on how to migrate this draft site from our local development computer to an online server using Akeeba Backup. This is one of many examples in the book where novice users will learn not just about JoomSocial itself, but additional good Joomla! practices that they can take with them to other Joomla! projects. I think this will be an added bonus for many readers.

Once the site has been installed and is active on a remote web server, we can check that the process of adding user accounts and editing profiles within JoomSocial is working correctly.

A social network site needs users to be successful, and the book discusses some of the broader details a site administrator will have to think about – is the interface easy to use, how do users invite others to join, how do you encourage users to make connections within the network, and how will users add content to the site? Obviously important details if the site is to grow.

As part of the chapter on how to encourage users to submit content, the book covers in detail the task of installing SOBI2 and some of its associated modules. SOBI2 is a third party Joomla! component that allows for the creation of directory and review systems for Joomla! sites. I thought this section was another nice bonus in the book, since it gives good information on how to install and configure a component which has applications in many Joomla! websites.

Customising a Joomla! template isn't a topic I was expecting to find covered, and I thought it was interesting that the authors decided to include this. Throughout the book, the authours use a GPL template from RocketTheme. In latter sections of the book they touch on how to customise this template, with the intention of modifying the template design, and improving the interface for site users. Some of this may be outside the comfort zone of novice readers, and the book doesn't pretend to offer a full guidelines on how to create or customise Joomla! Templates. But for anyone who has had some exposure to HTML and PHP, this introduction to templates, how they work, and how to change them will be enough to get them off to a good start.

No book about social networks would be complete without a mention of Facebook and Twitter. JoomSocial lets users integrate these other networks into their profiles. It's a relatively easy process and the necessary steps are clearly described.

The final chapter of the book discusses some of the other social networking extensions for Joomla!, especially Community Builder. All extensions have thier strengths, and so I liked that the authours gave a brief overview of the other options available, how to install them, and how they compare to JoomSocial. Developing a social networking website is a large undertaking, and you want to be confident at the start that you've chosen the right software pakage, and that your site will come together at the end the way you picture it at the start.

Overall, what I enjoyed most about this book is that it looks at the big picture of what's involved in making a successful social networking website with JoomSocial and Joomla! Installing and configuring the component, its extensions and plugins is one thing. The book reminds us that to be successful, the website administrator also needs to think about the site design, its interface, and how users will will use, contribue and share the content on the site. Along the way, the book also discusses many 3rd party Joomla! extensions and good practice techniques which I think a lot readers will find valuable. The text gives thorough step by step instructions with screenshots throughout, and almost any reader will save time configuring the multitude of settings within JoomSocial by following the suggestions.

David Taiaroa is an experienced Joomla! and website designer with Panchroma Website Development: www.panchroma.ca

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