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Comment Open firmware (Score 4, Interesting) 145

Open firmware: https://github.com/christinaa/...

Coders wanted. Linux bring-up is done, needs USB and display to be more useful. Discussion happens on Freenode IRC #raspberrypi-internals

When this popular embedded platform has a fully functional open firmware to use instead of the proprietary bootcode.bin then I'll be a little more cheery about the success of the Raspberry Pi worldwide.

Comment Re:Cell Phone (Score 2) 195

Or, people would like to be able to own homes in areas unblighted by rooftop antenna towers.

Chimneys, satellite TV or ISP dishes, HDTV antennas, wind vanes, flag poles, roof-mounted security lights, rain gutter systems, skylights, solar panels.

You forgot these things we should also get rid of, just to be fair.

Comment Re:Cell Phone (Score 1) 195

Why not just use a cell phone?

Cell phone communication (voice, text, videocall, location tracking) is fine and preferred for one-on-one communication. When there is a mass event (community bicycle race or marathon, and the oft-overused example of disaster scenario or improbable zombie apocalypse) then 2-way site radio can be as effective as the skill of the radio operators. It's not enough that licensed amateur radio operation has historically existed, there must be protections for operators to practice their skills and remain as effective as they would like to be. You might not like the 40ft antenna mast in your neighbor's back yard, but you'd be totally daft to scream "LA LA LA LA NOT LISTENING TO YOU LA LA LA NO YOU CAN'T BE A RADIO OPERATOR LA LA LA" covering your ears and rolling your eyes back at that same neighbor; as HOAs have been doing on your behalf for years.

Submission + - 3D Printer Owner's Network Puts Together Buyer's Guide (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: Thousands of 3D printer owners who are part of a distributed online network were tapped for a buyer's guide, rating dozens of machines from tiny startups to big name manufacturers. Surprisingly, the big name 3D printer makers were no where to be found in the top picks. More obscure companies, like Makergear, a 12-person start-up in Ohio, or Zortrax, a polish company that began as a Kickstarter project, took top spots in the reviews. The buyer's guide, put together by 3D Hubs, contains five different categories: Enthusiast Printers, Plug-n-Play Printers, Kit/DIY Printers, Budget Printers and Resin Printers. In all, 18 models made it to the top of the user communities' list, and only printers with more than 10 reviews were included in the buyer's guide. 3D Hubs also added a secondary "Printer Index" that includes 58 3D Printers that didn't make it to the top of their categories. Printers with more than five reviews are displayed in the index.

Submission + - Debian Votes not to Mandate Non-systemd Compatibility

paskie writes: Voting on a Debian General Resolution that would require packagers to maintain support even for systems not running systemd ended tonight with the resolution failing to gather enough support.

This means that some Debian packages could require users to run systemd on their systems in theory — however, in practice Debian still works fine without systemd (even with e.g. GNOME) and this will certainly stay the case at least for the next stable release Jessie.

However, the controversial GR proposed late in the development cycle opened many wounds in the community, prompting some prominent developers to resign or leave altogether, stirring strong emotions — not due to adoption of systemd per se, but because of the emotional burn-out and shortcomings in the decision processes apparent in the wake of the systemd controversy.

Nevertheless, work on the next stable release is well underway and some developers are already trying to mend the community and soothe the wounds.

Comment Re:the androidness of it all (Score 2) 303

Settled on a Huawei U8686 (T-Mobile Prism II / Android 4.1.1) for $70usd new. What I've learned compared to the N900, follows.

Similar:
- survive with screen protector a drop to concrete from pocket
- small hi-res screen is unnoticeable size in pocket
- replaceable battery
- wifi / bluetooth / GPS
- microSD storage expansion
- standard SIM card

N900 is better:
- Camera autofocus and flash with excellent optics quality (affects usefulness as 2D barcode scanner)
- Keyboard and Resistive touchscreen work always even in rainy weather
- Cellular carrier sees N900 as a "dumb phone" and no problem to use on cheap unlimited data plan ; Carrier forces upsell to new data plan if using Android OS
- Already have one and don't want to buy another device
- Most apps are free as in freedom with open source code and free software license
- 16GB or 32GB storage internal comparable with most high-end phones to date

U8686 is better:
- Make and receive calls consistently with instant and foolproof UI response
- Integration with T-Mobile wifi hotspot call routing ; use this one a lot at home where there is Internet but no cellular coverage
- Pinch/pull to zoom makes Firefox Mobile much more useful
- On screen keyboard works smoothly with easy to configure text prediction
- Majority OS marketshare at its release with Android
- No moving parts

Not sure about:
- Google Android manager allows to track your misplaced phone ; Admittedly this is both a great benefit and privacy concern
- Low signal-to-noise App marketplace promoting a non-libre and advertising supported shit storm of apps that are diminishing in usefulness
- U8686 bootloader is locked by default. Huawei honors requests for bootloader unlock code via a recently-discovered form letter. Alternative Android OS builds for this device by community are not yet available.
- Where is wireless charging? Aftermarket product makers of either device, hello?

Summary: An improvement over the N900 should cost *less* than you paid originally for your N900, and to be a true improvement (at the same price) there would be *zero* binary blobs and proprietary softwares required. Can you make a truly libre phone OS run on cheap ($100) Android phone hardware?

Comment Re:If you want CD-quality audio, buy CDs (Score 1) 550

A few refurb SanDisk Sansa Fuze or Clip players and an assortment of 2GB to 8GB uSD cards fills the need to enjoy FLAC based CD-quality music on-the-go. No, you don't need Rockbox (alternative firmware). Native vendor firmware plays 44KHz/16-bit/2-channel FLAC without issue. Labeling uSD cards is a little tricky, and for that task I'll cut an Avery 6737 label in half and write using an ultra-fine (0.5mm) tip pen. After a few insertion cycles of the storage card, the label settles enough that it does not bind on the socket. All of my music is stored and labeled this way and fits in an Altoids tin. Duplicity encrypted backups are stored offline on 1TB or 2TB rotational platter drives. The upfront cost of this setup is about equal or less than what I paid in the 1990's for a used portable CD player, NiCad batteries, and CD case storage.

What I would like to see (as a consumer) is the wider adoption of 96KHz/24-bit FLAC playback capability on portable devices. CD quality isn't good enough for me to justify paying more than the cost of a local live show for it. I can barely notice the difference between CD-quality and a higher resolution signal, but I -do- notice the difference. I.e most people do not notice when they crank up the volume of a player beyond the line input level of a stereo system, and I do know this, it is grating to my hearing and detrimental to enjoying music. Worst yet about our economy today of buying and selling music, most of this music is damaged by the compression methods to the point where not many people can tell the difference anymore. It all sounds like shit at playback no matter what you do to it.

Comment Re:PF Alternative, anyone ? (Score 1) 409

Try:

The Gathering
Mono (instrumental group from Japan)
Captain Beefheart
Frank Zappa
Nathan Fake
Mew / And the glass handed kites (album)
Muse
Radiohead
ELP

and there's always Brian Eno / Mike Oldfield, but honestly I haven't got the patience for it.

To be fair you should probably give Sonic Youth a listen; Musically brilliant and "recent", though not anything similar to Pink Floyd.

I've heard Coldplay is similar to Pink Floyd, just kidding.

Comment Re:Ohh I was right! (Score 1) 409

Nick, ever the rational one, the only member to be with the band through its entire career, said "Hey You, It's One of My Turns to speak right now, and Let There Be More Light on this subject. Remember, Childhood's End, and we're at Chapter 24 of our careers. If only you would overcome your Flaming temper, we could Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun and watch our sales go into Interstellar Overdrive. Remember a Day before today when we were young and were the Masters of Rock? When we shone like the sun? Today's market is The Thin Ice, or to put it in other words, The Narrow Way, and if we don't let them sell online, you may as well plant us now six feet under in Granchester Meadows."

[x] Apply memes

A) ...as the prince of Bel-Air.

B) I see what you did there.

C) It's over 9000

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