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Submission + - Asl Slashdot: How Hard Is It To Have a Smart Home That's Not 'In The Cloud'? 1

An anonymous reader writes: It's beginning to seem like everything related to home (and much other) automation is basically remote control 'in the cloud' feeding information about you to somebody's advertising system. In principle, this should not be the case, but it is in practice. So how hard is it, really, to do 'home automation' without sending all your data to Google, Samsung, or whoever — just keep it to yourself and share only what you want to share? How hard would it be, for instance, to hack a Nest thermostat so it talks to a home server rather than Google? Or is there something already out there that would do the same thing as a Nest but without 'the cloud' as part of the requirement? Yes, a standard programmable thermostat does 90% of what a Nest does, but there are certain things that it won't do like respond to your comings and goings at odd hours, or be remotely switchable to a different mode (VPN to your own server from your phone and deal with it locally, perhaps?). Fundamentally, is there a way to get the convenience and not expose my entire life and home to unknown actors who by definition (read the terms of service) do not have my best interest in mind?

Submission + - Father of Beowulf Clusters:"A Critical Time in High Performance Computing" (www.openhpc.community)

jcasman writes: "When I did the Beowulf Project, totally by accident we ended up pretty much starting, in the realm of supercomputing, the use of the Linux operating system for commodity clusters; not by doing anything wonderful or brilliant, but by filling in a desperate gap with Ethernet drivers. We did this because we were looking for low-cost. And because Berkeley Software stack, which was funded by DARPA, was being litigated against by AT&T. At that time, my team and I were supported by NASA, and NASA would not allow us to use BSD which we otherwise would have for our experiments in scientific cluster computing. So having been – in those days – a hacker – the good kind! – and associated with people like Don Becker who were already playing with piles of floppy disks from Linus’ activities, I realized that there was a possibility to achieve our goals if we made necessary contributions. So Linux, which now dominates supercomputing, something in excess of 95% of the world’s supercomputers run one of many distributions of Linux, that was one of the contributions we made.

What was important was the fact that no one – individual or small group – could literally create a whole new class of supercomputing. But many people, across the country and around the world, could together."

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Alternatives to "atomic" clocks 2

Tony Isaac writes: "Atomic" clocks that you can buy in stores, synchronize time using the WWVB shortwave band from NIST in Boulder. The problem is, this signal is notoriously weak, making these clocks very sensitive to interference by other RF or electronic devices, or less-than-ideal reception conditions. In many locations, these clocks are never able to receive a time signal, making them no better at timekeeping than a cheap quartz clock. There are other ways to synchronize clock time: NTP over WiFi, GPS, or cellular. The cheapest clocks that use NTP over WiFi cost around $400. Really??? And while there are plenty of GPS-enabled smartwatches in the $100 price range, there don't seem to be any similar wall clocks. Are there any reasonably-priced wall clock alternatives, that use something other than shortwave to set the time?

Submission + - Lenovo Says Linux Voids Your Warrenty 4

altools writes: I called Lenovo because my computer occasionally freezes on the press f2 to enter set up screen and asked to schedule a service ticket as it's warranty expires in January. I also reported that the wireless device and power cord intermittently aren't detected. I put Linux on it the second I opened the box and have been using it for the last 10 months when I started noticing the power/usb jack getting loose and it locking up on the press f2 to enter set up screen. I called Lenovo's tech support and reported the issues, she set up the ticket, and told me they possibly would negotiate fees to repair the hardware at their desecration, but before placing the ticket told me that the system was holding up the ticket. She then told me the reason was because I had voided the warranty by installing Linux on the computer. Good to know installing Linux voids your warranty at Lenovo.

Submission + - ARM64 vs ARM32 -- What's different for Linux programmers? (edn.com)

DebugN writes: When ARM introduced 64-bit support to its architecture, it aimed for Linux application compatibility with prior 32-bit software on its architecture. But for Linux programmers, there remain some significant differences that can affect code behaviour. If you are a Linux programmer working with — or will soon be working with — 64-bit, you might want to know what those differences are, and this useful EDN article says it all.

Comment Re:You know? The ass long time in summer? (Score 3, Insightful) 388

That only works for the cases where the teachers are paid for that time in the summer.

Often, that is not the case, and instead they are working another job to replace the paycheck that stops coming during that period.

It's easy to blame the teachers for this, but I try not expect people to spend a quarter of the unpaid time I see teachers already spending doing class prep, let alone more.

(I'm sure that there are teachers that don't spend that time. I'm also sure that there are teachers, somewhere, that actually get paid for that time. But the ones I know personally already spend huge amounts of completely unpaid time on class prep, and often are just left out in the cold entirely during the summer unless they are teaching summer classes.)

Comment Not so stupid, just not ready yet. (Score 1) 406

The real value of a self-driving car is just that, fully self-driving.

It's having something that can drive while you're asleep, reading, or maybe even working on your laptop.

It's something that can drive your 10 year old to school, drop them off, and then drive back to the house so that other people in the household can use the car.

And just as importantly, it's something that someone who is not fit to drive-maybe for medical reasons, maybe because they have not slept in 24 hours, maybe because they are drunk-can use to safely get where they need to go.

So no, the danger of salf-driving cars isn't that people will decide not to be in the driver's seat, the danger is that both automakers and regulators will try and give us supposedly self-driving cars that can't handle those cases, and then be surprised when things go horribly wrong, or when people just don't see the value in buying one.

Personally, I plan on ownning a true self-driving car very soon after I can buy one that can do the driving when I can't, and I bet that the vast majority of legally blind adults with enouh money will be right along there with me. But that won't happen anytime soon when people are acting like you need a driver for it to be safe.

Comment It has to beat my $30 Timex. (Score 1) 427

The #1 priority, it has to be at least as good as my $30 Timex at what that $30 Timex actually does.

I could live with the battery needing charging every week, but not more often, half the point of my watch is being able to tell at a quick glance how much longer I have to sleep. (Without putting my glasses on, thanks, a clock on the night stand really doesn't help here.)

Better programmable alarms, alarm noises, and vibration alerts than I can get with a simple watch would be good.

Beyond that, give me a good heart rate monitor, and other basic sensors, and a good API to play with it all.

Submission + - Geoblocking in Australia to be dismantled (zdnet.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Major software and content players such as Apple, Adobe, and Microsoft face a raft of measures which could dismantle their business models and their ability to enforce regional restrictions, or ‘geoblocking’, on the use of their products if key recommendations of the Australian Government’s Inquiry into IT Pricing report are adopted.

Comment Power lines. (Score 1) 262

Assuming that it goes high enough, power disturbation. It's enough of a savings that every decade or so people talk about using current generation superconductors for it, need for cryogenic cooling and all.

Then making a lot of stuff that uses current superconductors cheaper, like MRI machines and particle accelerators.

Sure, I bet that there will be _plenty_ of new stuff, but I'm less convinced that anyone is going to be able to predict what that will be all that well.

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