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Hardware Hacking

iFixit Moves Into Console Repair 75

sk8pmp writes with news that iFixit, a website known for Apple gadget teardowns and repair guides, is expanding into the game console market, launching a series of troubleshooting and repair guides to help gamers fix their own machines. They're also starting to sell replacement parts and the tools necessary to work on them. "Right now there are repair guides for 24 gaming consoles, including 206 repairs and upgrades. Some of these fixes deal with major issues, such as the infamous Red Ring of Death from the Xbox 360, but others are simpler. For instance, right now there is no easy way to clean out the fans inside your console. 'I think this is probably the number one cause of overheating these days now that manufacturers have mostly gotten their act together,' Wiens said. 'This is routine maintenance, and it's mind-boggling that the manufacturers don't provide people with an easy way to open the case up and blow it out.' You'll also learn how to replace broken LCD screens on your portables, replace the motherboard on your PlayStation 3, and do just about anything else you might want to do to these systems, from the simple to the harrowing."

Arctic Bacteria Used To Make Cool Vaccines 74

cremeglace writes "Scientists say they may have discovered a way to develop cool new vaccines — and they mean that literally. By replacing essential genes in a mammalian pathogen with their counterparts from Arctic bacteria, they have created strains that provoke a protective immune response in mice, but that don't spread to the warm parts of the body where they could do serious harm. The team hopes that the method will lead to a new generation of vaccines for major bacterial diseases such as tuberculosis."

Comment Re:Really Really Really? No. (Score 1) 278

I could very well be incorrect, but I am not aware of ANY in-contract phone that is available from ANY carrier running plain vanilla Android Linux.

I am not bashing Google on this. I am just pointing out that Android Linux, as it exists for 99.X% of the market, is FAR more locked-down than WebOS Linux and Maemo Linux.

The Nexus One on T-Mobile.


Submission + - The Wikipedia of Repair Manuals

ezeri writes: Just in time for Earth Day, iFixit, best known for their product teardowns, has release what they are calling "Repair 2.0", a community driven repository of repair guides for any and all devices. From the article: "It doesn't trouble you that the devices we use every day are so poorly documented, or constructed in such obscure ways, that one has to be an Apple-qualified technician or Dell customer service person to fix a simple problem? I've actually had a long post gestating on this very topic, and now iFixit has gone and eaten my lunch." Hopefully this will encourage companies to start making products a little easier to fix. Cynicism tells me they want me throwing out my old devices every few years, but if this helps keep some devices out of dumping sites it will be a great thing for the environment.

Submission + - [Book Review] CMS Made Simple 1.6

cnymike writes: CMS Made Simple 1.6 — Beginner's Guilde by Sofia Hauschildt, recently publised by Packt Publishing is intended for new users of the open source content management application, CMS Made Simple(CMSMS). True to its title, the book delivers in all respects and provides a solid foundation from which to grow as you explore the rich possibilities of building sites with CMS Made Simple. The author, Sofia Hauschildt is a consultant, programmer and tutor and has a gift for communicating in a very straightforward, readable manner. The technical level of writing never exceeds that which could be easily understood by a neophyte. The book does assume that the reader has some knowledge of HTML and CSS.

I was first introduced to CMS Made Simple 5 years ago. I had a need to begin the developemnt of a CMS based web site and over the years I have explored many products, including WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Website Baker, e107 and a slew of other open source applications. After trying many, I settled on CMS Made Simple to build many of the sites because of it's ease of installation and operation.

The available documentation for CMSMS has been sparse however. The CMSMS web site has a wiki and user forum, but the wiki is not always up-to-date or complete. The user forum is an option for getting technical problems or other questions answered, but it is not the best place to ask questions if you are truly a neophyte. There is an expectation that you have a certain fundamental understanding of how CMS's work. The developers have clearly stated that CMS Made Simple is geared to web developers and not so much to neophytes who need a lot of hand-holding and who need relatively basic questions answered.

This book is the much needed introduction to CMSMS. The approach taken by the author is exactly the approach needed if you were explaining how to use something to someone who has absolutely no knowledge of it. The learning takes place via the construction of a "case study" web site. You are taught how to install CMSMS and then how to plan your site, beginning with the creation of pages and navigation. The author even takes the time to explain how to customize TinyMCE (the WYSIWYG editor) to the level you need.

The methodology used in this book is straightforward and effective. As each topic is introduced, you are told what you will accomplish. Next, the instructions for accomplishing the task are given with ample use of screenshots when needed. As you work through the task, you are given additional tips and suggestions that help you fully appreciate what you are doing. Once the task has been completed, you are then given a summary of what just happened. Pop quizzes appear throughout the book to test your knowledge of what you were just taught. This type of repetition is one of the reasons the book is so effective. It super-charges the learning process. You learn by doing.

The author goes into surprising detail on many topics that give you a depth of understanding that you otherwise would not get by just trying to learn by yourself. For instance, in Chapter 4 — Design and Layout, the author discusses in a very concise manner how the Smarty template engine works. Various examples of how to harness the power of Smarty are given and before you know it, you've learned a great deal about Smarty that will greatly assist you in ultimately designing your own templates or modifying templates from other sources. Furthermore, an excellent section devoted on how to adapt templates from other platforms to CMSMS gives you the skills needed to accomplish that task. Having this knowledge opens the door to being able to adapt the huge number of templates , both paid and free, to your use on a CMSMS installation.

Core Modules are the essential modules that come with the CMSMS package. You learn about how these modules function and how to modify them in ways that let you adapt them to your specific needs. The author also discusses a number of third-party modules that give you additional features such as a photo Gallery or Newsletter.

Later in the book, more advanced topics are introduced. Some of the topoics include how to make multi-lingual websites, how to translate core and third-party modules into a different language and how to create additional page layout capabilities by using extra page attributes.

Leaving no stone unturned, the book also discusses SEO practices, canonical URL's, how to avoid duplicate page content issues such as when you incorporate printer-only versions of your pages and much more. It is really surprising how much information is packed in to this realtively slim book.

There are many instances of code in the book that you need to type as you work through the exercises. Since there is no CD of these code snippets included with the book, the author has thoughfully made available from the publisher website, a zip archive of the code.

To my knowledge, there currently is no other introduction to using CMS Made Simple. This book should quite frankly be required reading to anyone thinking of building a website with CMSMS. It will greatly accelerate your ability to successfully install, build and deploy a website based on CMSMS. The book is completely efficient in the way the informamtion is presented and will give you a well-rounded perspective on using CMSMS. The book is designed with beginners in mind but even someone who has worked with CMSMS for a few years is likely to discover nuggets in this book that will be beneficial to them. The one thing this book is not, however, is a reference book. It is better to be used as a tutorial.

I have more computer books in my bookshelf than I care to count but this book is what I would consider a top-shelf book. It is easily digested, amazingly comprehensive and the only book you really need to get up and running with CMS Made Simple. The book is available from a variety of sources including Barnes and Noble, Amazon and Packt Publishing.

Review by:
Michael Erb
twitter: merb

Why Time Flies By As You Get Older 252

Ant notes a piece up on WBUR Boston addressing theories to explain the universal human experience that time seems to pass faster as you get older. Here's the 9-minute audio (MP3). Several explanations are tried out: that brains lay down more information for novel experiences; that the "clock" for nerve impulses in aging brains runs slower; and that each interval of time represents a diminishing fraction of life as we age.

Dying Man Shares Unseen Challenger Video 266

longacre writes "An amateur video of the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger explosion has been made public for the first time. The Florida man who filmed it from his front yard on his new Betamax camcorder turned the tape over to an educational organization a week before he died this past December. The Space Exploration Archive has since published the video into the public domain in time for the 24th anniversary of the catastrophe. Despite being shot from about 70 miles from Cape Canaveral, the shuttle and the explosion can be seen quite clearly. It is unclear why he never shared the footage with NASA or the media. NASA officials say they were not aware of the video, but are interested in examining it now that it has been made available."
GNU is Not Unix

The Battle Between Purists and Pragmatists 213

Glyn Moody has a thoughtful piece taking a long look at the never-ending battle between pragmatists and purists in free and open software. "While debates rage around whether Mono is good or bad for free software, and about 'fauxpen source' and 'Faux FLOSS Fundamentalists,' people are overlooking the fact that these are just the latest in a series of such arguments about whether the end justifies the means. There was the same discussion when KDE was launched using the Qt toolkit, which was proprietary at the time, and when GNOME was set up as a completely free alternative. But could it be that this battle between the 'purists' and the 'pragmatists' is actually good for free software — a sign that people care passionately about this stuff — and a major reason for its success?"

Submission + - Fox reports EPA controversy; CNN et al ignore it

mbeckman writes: Fox News today reported that Senator James Inhofe, R-Okla, ordered an investigation into the Environmental Protection Agency's alleged suppression of an internal report calling into question the EPA's position backing CO2 as a primary cause of global warming. A report co-authored by EPA analyst Alan Carlin states that the EPA ignored data showing global temperature declining for eleven years despite increasing CO2 levels over the same period. Inhofe may or may not have a solid basis for his concerns; that remains to be seen. But what I find disturbing is that Senator Inhofe's quite public announcement has been ignored by CNN, CBS, NBC and ABC. As of midnight Monday MDT, the story appears on none of their sites. While there certainly can be room for selectivity in a news site's front page content, it's hard to imagine what justification major networks can have for completely ignoring a significant investigation ordered by a U.S. Senator. Will Slashdot air this controversy, or bury it further?

Submission + - Roadrunner is fastest computer on the planet (pcauthority.com.au)

Slatterz writes: IBM's Roadrunner system has once again been verified as the fastest supercomputer on the planet. The computing cluster, located at the US Department of Energy's Livermore California labs, retained the top spot on the Top 500 supercomputer list despite challenges from several new systems. Second on the list was the Cray XT5 cluster at Oak Ridge Laboratory in Tennessee. This is the second time that the Oak Ridge system has been in the number 2 slot on the list.
Social Networks

Submission + - Twitter set to charge for account verification (pcauthority.com.au)

Slatterz writes: Twitter may start charging companies to verify their accounts, as part of recently unveiled plans to tackle the increasing problem of cyber squatters setting up fake accounts. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said that Twitter will target a few companies to begin with, including Dell, Whole Foods Mark Inc and Starbucks Corp. The news follows a revelation by Dell that it has earned $3m in revenue through Twitter since 2007. Twitter has been looking at ways to generate revenue for a long time. Even though the site is growing at a phenomenal rate, it has had trouble monetising its web traffic.

Submission + - IBM Working On 10x Battery Breakthrough (computerworld.com)

CWmike writes: "IBM said today that it is developing a next-generation rechargeable battery capable of storing 10 times more energy than today's top lithium-ion batteries. The new batteries could be used to power cars and store power for smart energy grids, it said. The company said it plans to discuss its work at its Almaden Institute 2009 conference on Aug. 26-27. 'High-density, scalable energy storage technologies are emerging as the greatest game-changer for this new era of renewable energy sources and smarter grids," said Sharon Nunes, vice president of IBM's Big Green Innovations organization. 'Today, the vast majority of the world's oil is burned for transportation. Energy sources such as wind and solar power fluctuate continuously. We believe the solution may lie in the development of an efficient, affordable energy storage network.'"

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