I helped an elderly friend set up his new PC yesterday. His
previous machine, over a decade old, was running Windows XP. I had set
up an Ubuntu dual-boot a few years back, and he liked playing the games.
But then the Linux boot stopped working--there was a message to the
effect “hd0 out of disk”, which sounded like a GRUB problem (“hd0”
being a GRUB disk name, not a Linux disk name). I booted up
SystemRescueCD, and found that disk space was ample. I did an fsck on
the Linux volume, and found no filesystem problems. I ran a badblocks
scan, and it reported several bad sectors, though oddly they only seemed
to be in the Windows partition (if I interpreted the numbers
Naturally I searched online, but the hits I found for that error
message didn’t seem very helpful. Reinstalling GRUB didn’t help, so I
concluded there were likely other hardware problems, so time for a new
He got an entry-level dual-core AMD box from PBTech--their own house
build, in a CoolerMaster case--for well under a grand. Nothing fancy,
but good enough for his needs--mainly Web browsing, e-mail, a little
bit of word processing, and those games.
The PBTech box came without an OS. He could have got Windows 10 for it,
but considering he would be facing a learning curve coming from XP
regardless, I suggested going 100% Linux for all his daily needs, to
see if that would work. He could always spend the $160-odd extra on
Windows later if need be.
So I set it up with Linux Mint, since that seems to be everybody’s
favourite :). He was already using Firefox on Windows, so moving all his
Web bookmarks across was easy. The Mint install put an icon for
Thunderbird on the desktop by default, so I decided to try that for
e-mail. Getting his address book across from Outlook Express was
fairly straightforward, once I figured out how to map the exported CSV
field names correctly. The mail messages were slightly more fiddly, but
I found this extension
which directly loads Microsoft’s .dbx files, and that seemed to work OK.
Then he wanted to play CDs. When we put in an audio CD, it came up with
options to run Banshee (media player) or Brasero (disc burner). The
Banshee media player wouldn’t play the CD directly, it insisted on
ripping it to the hard drive first. This was not really what he wanted.
I had a look round, and found KsCD, which will indeed play audio CDs
without trying to rip them to audio files first. As far as I know, this
is the only GUI Linux app that can do so.
So, day 1 ended on a reasonably successful note. He was already
noticing how much faster the new machine was. So we’ll see how it goes
System76 announces its new Ibex Pro box
which can hold up to nearly 40,000 NVidia CUDA cores
<https://system76.com/servers/ibex>. Not sure how many you get for that
USD9,575 base price...
Seems like there is no really competitive market for GPGPU hardware--it
is totally dominated by NVidia, and nobody else gets a serious look-in.
So the industry-standard OpenCL API languishes, since the dominant
player prefers its own proprietary alternative, and there is little
pressure from users to be able to port their code to competing
"Google has developed a huge range of tools for machine learning, IoT,
wearables, robotics, and home automation, and it wants Raspberry Pi
fans to fill
out a survey
will help it to understand what tools to provide."
I just took the survey and I don't get any impression of what tools they
will bring to the r-pi. It was pretty simple, no email address required to
participate. The questions were how old are you, what area are your
projects in, and how frequently do you work on your projects. Im sure with
the processing power of r-pi we'll see some sort of web API which wouldn't
really need to be specific to the r-pi. It will be interesting to watch
what they come up with so if you have maker projects, take the survey.
With all the worries over bad USB-C cables and vendors that play fast
and loose with the power spec, here
<https://arstechnica.co.uk/gadgets/2017/01/usb-c-power-meter/> is a
measurement gadget that can help to some extent. But as the article
If you really want to test a new charger or cable before plugging
it into an expensive device, your best bet is some DIYish
electronics involving a breakout board and a multimeter. But there
doesn't seem to be a plug-and-play version of that yet.
analyzes Trump’s tweets, identifies the company he is badmouthing, and
does a quick short-sell to profit from the momentary dip in the
company’s stock value.
T3's approach involves using a Python Twitter bot and API calls to
services like Indico for machine learning (sentiment analysis and
entity recognition), Clearbit for company identification, Google
Finance for stock pricing, and E‑Trade for executing the trade.
They have been donating the profits to charity.
Imagine that--an ethical use for short-selling...
The nail in the coffin, according to O'Callahan, is that software
vendors rarely speak out about antivirus issues "because they need
cooperation from the AV vendors." He then links to a mailing list
thread in 2012, where he suggests keeping a list of the AV software
that interferes with Firefox. Later in the thread, Mozilla PR
swoops in and tells him to knock it off.