Qbertino writes: For six years the German TanDEM-X (German link) spacemission of the German Aero- & Spaceflight Administration (DLR), consiting of two satellites circling the earth in close proximity to one another, scanned and built the most precise height map of earth yet. As heise.de reports (link to German article with pictures) that mission has now concluded successfully delivering results way beyond expectations.
The satellites involved will continue their flight with other related projects, but the height data is completely collected. The new earth height map as a resolution of one meter and will offer a number of scientific fields valuable information and assistance. Big picture here.
Qbertino writes: One of the oldest Science Fiction TV serials, the famous German "Raumpatrouille Orion" (Space Patrol Orion) turned 50 today. Heise.de has a scoop on the anniversary in German. The production of Space Partol Orion predates Star Trek by roughly a year and was a huge TV hit in Germany, gaining the status of a "Street Sweeper" (Straßenfeger), referring to the effect it's airing had on public life. 6 episodes were produced. Watch Episode One here here and link subtitled versions below if you find one. Enjoy! "Fallback to Earth!"... In Germany that phrase is about as cult as "Engage Warpdrive!".
Qbertino writes: I want to boost my productivity and the performance in my Linux desktop setup without compromising any of the hardware intergration that comes with modern zero-fuss distributions such as Ubuntu.
I'm currently using Ubuntu 16 LTS with the Xubuntu Setup, but I'm not happy with the performance, despite it running on 18GB of RAM from an SSD on a ThinkPad W510 with a quadcore CPU and an Nvidia Quadro GFX Card. Loadtimes of Firefox are abysmal (true thing), and responsiveness of Xubuntu is OKish, but it could be better.
I would like a Linux desktop that boots in roughly 10 seconds into the desktop, allows me to use all the extra keys (Multimedia, Brightness, etc.) has zero-fuss Wireless, Bluetooth, Mouse & Extra Mousekey integration and otherwise does not bog down the system.
I have no fear of some purist WM like i3WM and learning how to use and configure it. I do use the CLI, although my main IDE currently are from the Java-driven Jetbrains familiy and I plan on continueing their use. But if I'm using a lightweight Linux and WM, I would still like wireless and the extra keyfunctions to work as intended. Nvidias 3D drivers would be nice too, but I don't know if those are slowing down the system (any experience with this?).
What should I do to ensure such a setup? Is there a modern, perhaps rolling distro that you can recommend, that will give me the speed to expect on a modern day supercomputer laptop? Perhaps with automatically custom compiling a kernel after analysing the system or something? Also what is the general problem here? Is this a Ubuntu problem? Is this 32bit vs. 64bit? Is it just me, or are modern Linux distros getting slower?
Your educated opinion and advice is needed. Thanks.
Qbertino writes: A lot of our everyday lives today hinges on having our smartphone and our apps/services/data that are on it working and available.
What are you tactics/standard procedures/techniques/best pratices for preparing for a lost/stolen/destroyed Android Phone and/or iPhone? And have you needed to actually use them?
I'm talking concrete solutions for the worst case scenario: Apps, backup routines (like automating Google Takeaway downloads or something) tracking and disabling routines and methods and perhaps services. If you're using some vendor specific solution that came with your phone and have had positive experience with it, feel free to advocate.
Please include the obvious with some description that you use such as perhaps a solution already build into Android/iOS and also describe any experience you had with these solutions in some unpleasant scenario you might have had yourself. Also perhaps the procedures and pitfalls for recovering previous state to a replacement device.
Please note: I'm talking both Android and iOS. And thanks for your input — I can imagine that I'm not the only one interested in this.
Qbertino writes: At work I'm basically the sole developer at an Agency of 30 and building and maintaining a half-assed LAMP / WordPress Stack Pipeline for Web and Web Application development.
It's not completely chickenwire, spit and duct tape, but just a corner or two ahead of that. The job is fine and although my colleagues have no clue whatsoever about anything IT and couldn't be bothered to think twice about the difference between a client and a server, they do respect my decisions and my calls as an experienced IT guy.
I'm currently in the process of gradually improving our environment step-by-step with each project, and while I know how I can automate stuff like WordPress instancing and automated staging host setup and how that might look for our LAMP stack, I am fully aware of the limitations of this platform. Especially in view of this cloud-development thing slowly catching on and going mainstream and self-maintained stacks and pipelines going the way of the dodo.
In view of all this I'm wondering if it is worthwhile to move custom development away from LAMP and into something less mixed up. Something potentially scalable and perhaps even ready for zero-fuss migration to an entirely cloud-based platform. I'm my book NodeJS has the advantage that is puts the same PL on both client and server and its overall architecure appears to be more cloud/scaling friendly. (Please cue the whitty npm repo jokes and wisecracks in a seperate thread. Thanks.)
My question: Have you moved from LAMP (PHP) to NodeJS for custom product development and if so, what's your advice? What downsides of JS on the server and in Node have a real-world effect? Is callback hell really a thing?
And what is the state of FOSS Node Products? PHP is often and perhaps rightfully considered 15 years ahead of the game with stuff like Drupal, Joomla, EzPublish or WP, but the underlying architecture of most of those systems is abysmal beyond words. Is there any trend inside the NodeJS camp on building a Platform and CMS Product that competes with the PHP camp whilst maintaining a sane architecture, or is it all just a ball of hype with a huge mess of its own growing in the background, Rails-style?
Please, do take note: This all is not about tinkering (for that Node actually *is* on my shortlist), this is about speedy production and delivery of pretty, working and half-way relyable products that make us money. At the same time it's about correctly building a pipeline that won't be completely outdated in 10 years — which I actually do see looming for LAMP, if I'm honest.
Qbertino writes: I like Ubuntu and find Unity generally bearable and perhaps even a good idea for convergence, but this weekend compiz has pissed me off just one time to many lagging my W510 ThinkPad with 18GB memory and Nivida Quadro GFX with a hefty Core i7 to a totally unusable slowness. Unacceptable, and screw that neat OpenGL Exposé if it needs a quadcore supercomputer to bareley get working. I've switched to XFCE/Xubuntu bracing myself for the manual cli config orgy to be expected. It's a breath of fresh air being back to normal speeds and ditching Ubuntu 14ns laggy/buggy/flaky default setup, but I'm ready for more. I've been pondering awesomeWM for about a year now and remember Fluxbox being the hip thing on Linux 10 years ago. I used WindowMaker for quite some time in the 2000nds but I would like to ask the Slashdot crowd what the newest and shiniest of WMs are on Linux these days? Tiling would be nice, hence me eyeing awesome. I would also like to continue using the Nvidia drivers.
What are your current preferences and why? And do you see a bearable migration path on a well-maintained Ubuntu 14 or are there better distros you'd recommend for the machine mentioned above and WM installation nimbleness? (Please note: I know my way around Debian and can handle all the cli stuff including apt-get without crying like a baby. If my Ubuntu 14 LTS install is up for the task, I am too.)
Ideas, suggestions welcome. Thanks.
Qbertino writes: German officials recently suggested to make all transactions larger than 5000 Euros illegal in cash. It's only a proposal, but definitely some back-room grey-suits machiavellian attempt to introduce the concept of ultimate transaction tracking in the long term. We all know how this goes. With all this and the ever-looming cyberpunk future in close proximity, I'm starting to wonder if it isn't time to get myself familiar with crypto currency as a means of trade. Bitcoin is all the hype, but the blockchain has flaws, in that it isn't as anonymous as one would hope for — you can track past transactions. Rumors of Bitcoin showing cracks are popping up and also there are quite a few alternatives out there. So I have some questions: Is getting into dealing with crypto currency worthwhile already? Is bitcoin a way to go or will it falter under wide use / become easyly trackable once NSA and the likes adopt their systems to doing exactly that? What digital currency has the technical and mind-share potential to superceed bitcoin? Are there feasible cryptocurrencies that have the upsides of bitcoin (such as a mathematical limit to their amount) but are fully anonymous in transactions? What do the economists and digi-currency nerds here have to contribute on that? What are your experiences with handling and holding cryptocurrency? And does bitcoin own the market or is it still flexible enough for an technology upgrade? May the discussion begin...
Qbertino writes: Hoi Everybody. I've got this problem on my hands: I want to tie an entire team (aprox. 30 people) into a simple versioning pipeline based on Git. This is an agency that sells "Social Media Marketing", production of PowerPoint presentations (big market for this — no shit!) and other stuff along those lines.
Just about everybody can barely tell a client from a server and walks out of a talk that is "too complicated" simply because I've shown them a slide with 3 lines of simple HTML code thrown into a general knowlege presentation. (Yeah, I know. Please curb the remarks. Unexpectedly I absolutely love working here. Everybody on the team is great and the culture is amazing, despite just about the entire crew being abysmally ignorant of even the simplest IT basics. I'll take this team over any anti-social bunch of experts any time.)
The cluelessness and general fear of even the slightest thing with IT has my boss tell me that SourceTree — a neat free (beer) cross-plattform client — is "too complicated and confusing" for most of the team and "has too many buttons".
We run all our work of a single massive off-the-shelf NAS share and a regular admin would get horrid nightmares with our asset workflow. Most of the team versions manually with date-numbers added to filenames.... Which, admittedly, does have the advantage of not requireing any sort of versioning software or client at all... We do have regular backups and some disaster recovery — but it's all manually maintained via web interfaces and some not-so-super-pro linux admin work by me via SSH and some sorta IT-savy marketing guys on the online team. I do this on the side, my main job is dealing with web projects.
My idea is to have a central set of repos on a central server (already have that) on which everyone can push and pull and perhaps all of them offered up in project access based shares for direct access for those who don't want to touch a versioning client. However, I would love to have a client of some sort that offers up the simplest of GUIs and isn't ugly (this is important). "Commit & Push", "Pull", "Show Unversioned", "Show All", "Browse History", "Tag" would be the main set of buttons required. The ususal colored-icon highlight of unversioned changes would be helpfull too.
The accompaning views would need to show a prominent comment box upon commit and handle conflicts and errors without spartan dumps of Git output — these scare my mates and make them cry. No branches, merges hidded and some sort of automatic [stash,pull,stash-apply & push] if the user was not in the LAN for a few workdays and is off track with his master-branch. I would also want the history to hide merges in the view. Web releases would be done with conventioned tags — perhaps a button for something like that would be neat aswell. I want the introduction of the team with the basics of automated distributed versioning, history browsing and it's advantages to be as smoothly as possible and the stuff listed about would be just fine for what we do in our everyday work.
Are their any clients and perhaps accompaning pre-confectioned custom workflows you know of that offer this sort of thing? At this point I'd even be willing to abandon Git, although I think it's awesome and really wouldn't want to go back to SVN (*shudder*). I know of a neat looking commercial Git-compatible toolkit called "Plastic", but that's for big non-trivial projects. Git-Kraken looks neat, but it's a kitchen-sink solution aswell. Is there something like that on the other end of the spectrum? Clients would need to be scriptable in some hidden way and cross plattform (Win & Mac). Should I start getting my hands dirty in Xamarin/MonoDevelop and roll my own? Are there other systems out there that work and have GUI-clients that don't look like a Xenomorph to regular users? Any other ideas? Suggestions welcome. Thanks.
Qbertino writes: On wednesday, the 12. of October 2014 Microsoft announced that they are releasing their.Net framework under the OSI certified MIT and Apache 2 open source licenses. Techcrunch reports that MS wants to work closely with the mono project and its 'business arm'Xamarin to spread.Net to other non-MS plattforms.
The sourcecode is available here at the official MS Github account.
In other news relyable sources from hell have reported temperatures of 20 centigrade below zero and the FAA has seen a spike in reports of flying pigs.
And no, it's not April 1st.
SoyChemist writes: "When she started her job as a new professor at UC Merced, Michelle Khine was stuck without a clean room or semiconductor fabrication equipment, so she went MacGyver and started making Lab-on-a-Chip devices in her kitchen with Shrinky Dinks, a laser printer, and a toaster oven. She would print a negative image of the channels onto the polystyrene sheets and then make them smaller with heat. The miniaturized pattern served as a perfect mould for forming rounded, narrow channels in PDMS — a clear, synthetic rubber."
Qbertino writes: I'm proud owner of an older 12" G4 iBook (1,0 Ghz) from a few years ago, the one many geeks have and liked to use because of it's price/performance ratio for a subnotebook. Many people I met use it to run Debian Linux PPC or some other OSS operating system and do their programming on it. However I mostly do web developement where the OS hardly matter and I've come to like the benefits of running the native OS and the neat and frictionless hardware integration that comes with it. I do quite a lot of Flash developement aswell and need to be able to use the official Flash IDE from Adobe.
The downside is that the desktop bogs down the systems performance which I'd like to use for other things by running a replacement of the Aqua Workplace Shell & desktop enviroment. There are quite a few wps replacements for windows — I've use Litestep with Windows 2000 — but I'm looking for one for OS X. What lightweigth WPS replacements are there for OS X and what other strategies are there to take some weight off an OS X desktop?