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Linux 4.10 released

OS news - Mon, 20/02/2017 - 20:10
Linux 4.10 has been released. This release adds support for virtualized GPUs, a new 'perf c2c' tool for cacheline contention analysis in NUMA systems, a new 'perf sched timehist' command for a detailed history of task scheduling, improved writeback management that should make the system more responsive under heavy writing load, a new hybrid block polling method that uses less CPU than pure polling, support for ARM devices such as the Nexus 5 & 6 or Allwinner A64, a feature that allows to attach eBPF programs to cgroups, an experimental MD RAID5 writeback cache, support for Intel Cache Allocation Technology, and many other improvements and new drivers. Here is the full list of changes.

Ritesh Raj Sarraf: Setting up appliances - the new way

Planet Debian - Mon, 20/02/2017 - 19:39

I own a Fitbit Surge. But Fitibit chose to remain exclusive in terms of interoperability. Which means to make any sense out of the data that the watch gathers, you need to stick with what Fitbit mandates. Fair enough in today's trends. It also is part of their business model to restrict useful aspects of the report to Premium Membership.  Again, fair enough in today's business' trends.

But a nice human chose to write a bridge; to extract Fitbit data and feed into Google Fit. The project is written in Python, so you can get it to work on most common computer platforms. I never bothered to package this tool for Debian, because I never was sure when I'd throw away the Fitbit. But until that happens, I decided to use the tool to sync my data to Google Fit. Which led me to requirements.txt

This project's requirement.txt lists versioned module dependencies, of which many modules in Debian, were either older or newer than what was mentioned in the requirements. To get the tool working, I installed it the pip way. 3 months later, something broke and I needed to revisit the installed modules. At that point, I realized that there's no such thing as: pip upgrade

That further led me to dig on why anyone wouldn't add something so simple, because today, in the days of pip, snap, flatpak and dockers, Distributions are predicted to go obsolete and irrelevant. Users should get the SOURCES directly from the developers. But just looking at the date the bug was filed, killed my enthusiasm any further.

So, without packaging for Debian, and without installing through pip, I was happy that my init has the ability to create confined and containerized environments, something that I could use to get the job done.


rrs@chutzpah:~$ sudo machinectl login fitbit [sudo] password for rrs: Connected to machine fitbit. Press ^] three times within 1s to exit session. Debian GNU/Linux 9 fitbit pts/0 fitbit login: root Last login: Fri Feb 17 12:44:25 IST 2017 on pts/1 The programs included with the Debian GNU/Linux system are free software; the exact distribution terms for each program are described in the individual files in /usr/share/doc/*/copyright. Debian GNU/Linux comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by applicable law. root@fitbit:~# tail -n 25 /var/tmp/lxc/fitbit-google.log synced calories - 1440 data points ------------------------------   2017-02-19  ------------------------- synced steps - 1440 data points synced distance - 1440 data points synced heart_rate - 38215 data points synced weight - 0 logs synced body_fat - 0 logs synced calories - 1440 data points ------------------------------   2017-02-20  ------------------------- synced steps - 1270 data points synced distance - 1270 data points synced heart_rate - 32547 data points synced weight - 0 logs synced body_fat - 0 logs synced calories - 1271 data points Synced 7 exercises between : 2017-02-15 -- 2017-02-20 --------------------------------------------------------------------------                                      Like it ? star the repository : https://github.com/praveendath92/fitbit-googlefit -------------------------------------------------------------------------- root@fitbit:~#


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Updated WhatsApp Statuses let you share photos and videos that disappear

Ars Technica - Mon, 20/02/2017 - 19:15

Enlarge (credit: WhatsApp)

WhatsApp rolled out two-step verification last week, and now it's updating an existing feature to compete with Snapchat. The Facebook-owned messaging app announced today it's updating Statuses, which lets you tell friends where you are or what you're up to at the moment. New Statuses can include photos, videos, and gifs to make shared posts more fun and personal. These decorated or animated statuses disappear after 24 hours, making them akin to Snapchat Stories and story-sharing on Instagram (which is also owned by Facebook).

The Status update coincides with WhatsApp's eighth birthday (February 24), and the new feature will roll out to Android, iOS, and Windows users from now until that date. When WhatsApp first came out, the Status feature was its only feature, as the app was built to let friends and family know what you were doing or where you were. Once messaging was added, Status remained a text-only feature that you could update on a whim.

Now you can choose to add photos, videos, and animated gifs and scribble over them to add more personality to your statuses. Any update you make to your Status will remain on your account for 24 hours before it disappears. If you update it multiple times a day, that will create a string of status updates that are presented much like Snapchat and Instagram Stories. Friends can watch your status story and reply to you privately, but all one-to-one communication still has to be done within private messaging windows. Like every other correspondence in WhatsApp, all status updates are end-to-end encrypted.

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Teen’s selfie with the dying boy he shot leads to murder conviction

Ars Technica - Mon, 20/02/2017 - 19:04

An 18-year-old Pennsylvania teen has been convicted of murdering his 16-year-old friend, and the incident came to light because the shooter posted a selfie with the dying boy via Snapchat.

Maxwell Morton (credit: Westmoreland County Jail)

Maxwell Morton faces up to 40 years in prison after being convicted of third-degree murder by a Westmoreland County jury last Thursday. Morton testified on his own behalf and said he did not intentionally kill Ryan Mangan in February 2015. Instead, Morton said, the boys were playing with what he thought was an unloaded handgun that he pointed at Mangan and fired.

During the four-day trial, Morton testified that he took the selfie to memorialize what happened to his "best friend." "Something in my head told me to take a picture of what happened," said Morton, who was 16 at the time of the murder. The selfie, taken with a mobile phone, shows Morton smiling in front of Mangan's body slumped in a chair. Defense attorneys unsuccessfully tried to exclude the picture from trial, but jurors were eventually shown the image. They spent six hours deliberating, and ultimately the jury did not believe the first-degree-murder allegations that the defendant had intentionally shot Mangan in the face.

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Holger Levsen: How to use .ics files like it's 1997

Planet Debian - Mon, 20/02/2017 - 18:46
$ sudo apt install khal … Unpacking khal (0.8.4-3) ... … $ (echo 1;echo 0;echo y;echo 0; echo y; echo n; echo y; echo y) | khal configure … Do you want to write the config to /home/user/.config/khal/khal.conf? (Choosing `No` will abort) [y/N]: Successfully wrote configuration to /home/user/.config/khal/khal.conf $ wget https://anonscm.debian.org/cgit/debconf-data/dc17.git/plain/misc/until-dc17.ics … HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK Length: 6120 (6.0K) [text/plain] Saving to: ‘until-dc17.ics’ … $ khal import --batch -a private until-dc17.ics $ khal agenda --days 14 Today: 16:30-17:30: DebConf Weekly Meeting ⟳ 27-02-2017 16:30-17:30: DebConf Weekly Meeting ⟳

khal is available in stretch and newer and is probably best run from cron piping into '/usr/bin/mail' Thanks to Gunnar Wolf for figuring it all out.

Report: Apple is planning a top-to-bottom refresh for the iPad in March

Ars Technica - Mon, 20/02/2017 - 18:31

Enlarge / The iPad Pro, Smart Keyboard, and Apple Pencil. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

For some time now, the ever-churning Apple rumor mill has been telling us to expect some kind of hardware event in the spring. And as the spring draws nearer, reports about both the timing and the content of that spring event are going to get more accurate. The latest news to that end comes from the Japanese site Mac Otakara (via MacRumors), one of the more reliable sources for early news about this sort of thing.

Mac Otakara reports that Apple will be having a hardware event in March with the iPad acting as the star of the show. The tablet lineup is said to be getting a top-to-bottom refresh—there will reportedly be new tablets at the current 7.9, 9.7, and 12.9-inch screen sizes, as well as a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro that combines the approximate size of the 9.7-inch version with the screen resolution of the 12.9-inch version.

The new "mini" version of the iPad Pro will reportedly have a Smart Connector, four speakers, a True Tone display, and a 12MP rear camera with an LED flash just like the current 9.7-inch version; it's also safe to assume Apple Pencil support, though the report doesn't mention it specifically. The improved camera and True Tone display feature will presumably also make their way to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, which shipped without those features (and without the DCI-P3 "wide color" display panel that the 9.7-inch Pro uses). The 10.5-inch model, which could ship later than the rest of them, is said to use a much thinner display bezel to make more room for the screen without increasing the tablet's overall size.

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Driverless race cars dodge stray dog in Argentina—but one wipes out into a wall

Ars Technica - Mon, 20/02/2017 - 18:20


In just its third season, Formula E deserves credit for trying out new ideas in motorsport. Not everything has been a success, but the risk of trying to innovate in broad daylight is that people will see your mistakes as they happen. Take Roborace for example. The idea is to create a series of support races for Formula E where each team uses an identical driverless car, competing to write the best-racing AI. That driverless race car isn't quite ready yet, but Roborace took a pair of DevBots to Argentina this weekend for a demonstration at the Buenos Aires ePrix.

It may not have been the demonstration that Roborace hoped for. One of the DevBots—the yellow one—ran out of talent and clipped a wall. But that happens to rookie human drivers, too, and at least in this case there was no chance of a rookie seriously hurting themselves. Some argue that this is bad news for Roborace and self-driving cars, but this is racing. If it were easy to get right, it wouldn't be any fun.

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Ex-Uber engineer alleges sexual harassment, CEO reacts by promising investigation

Ars Technica - Mon, 20/02/2017 - 18:14

Enlarge (credit: GHETTO UBER DRIVER)

After a former Uber engineer's blog post went viral over the weekend, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick vowed on Twitter that his company will begin an “urgent investigation” into newly public allegations of sexual harassment.

1/ What's described here is abhorrent & against everything we believe in. Anyone who behaves this way or thinks this is OK will be fired. https://t.co/6q29N7AL6E

— travis kalanick (@travisk) February 20, 2017

Kalanick's comments came Sunday evening, hours after Susan J. Fowler, who had been a site reliability engineer, wrote on her blog that she experienced what amounted to institutional sexism within the company. The experience ultimately drove Fowler to quit.

Fowler, who worked at Uber from November 2015 until December 2016, opened her piece with a sordid episode during her first few weeks of the company:

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Linksys Velop review: Fast, capable mesh Wi-Fi—but way too expensive

Ars Technica - Mon, 20/02/2017 - 17:45

Enlarge (credit: Mark Walton)

The Linksys Velop is the latest in a rapidly growing line of mesh, or "whole home" Wi-Fi systems from the likes of Google, Netgear, and Ubiquiti. Like its competitors, Velop is designed to help remove the dreaded dead spots that plague a home wireless network, ensuring that you've got complete coverage whether you're sat right next to the router, or you've retreated to the garden shed for a spot of well-deserved me time. All you have to do is stick an extra Velop router (or "node" in Linksys speak) in the room with poor coverage, and hey presto, you've got faster Wi-Fi.

Where the Velop differs, aside from in its monolithic stature, is in its technical chops. Velop is the only consumer-focused mesh Wi-Fi system to offer tri-band connectivity—which provides a dedicated wireless link between each router in addition to the two required for devices to connect to it—alongside the option for a Ethernet-based wired backhaul and dynamic channel selection, the latter minimising interference from neighbouring Wi-Fi networks.

Such tech doesn't come cheap. Velop starts at £199 for a single router, which is around £50 more than comparable standalone routers, and £199 more than the free router typically bundled in with home broadband packages. The price rises to £349 for the all-but-mandatory twin pack, and to an eye-watering £499 for a triple pack. Other mesh systems sell for similar prices, although, Velop's swankier tech and (mostly) user-friendly setup process makes it the more appealing option.

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Jonathan Dowland: Blinkenlights, part 3

Planet Debian - Mon, 20/02/2017 - 17:31

red blinkenlights!

Part three of a series. part 1, part 2.

One morning last week I woke up to find the LED on my NAS a solid red. I've never been happier to have something fail.

I'd set up my backup jobs to fire off a systemd unit on failure


This is a generator-service, which is used to fire off an email to me when something goes wrong. I followed these instructions on the Arch wiki to set it up). Once I got the blinkstick, I added an additional command to that service to light up the LED:

ExecStart=-/usr/local/bin/blinkstick --index 1 --limit 50 --set-color red

The actual failure was a simple thing to fix. But I never did get the email.

On further investigation, there are problems with using exim and systemd in Debian at the moment: it's possible for the exim4 daemon to exit and for systemd not to know that this is a failure, thus, the mail spool never gets processed. This should probably be fixed by the exim4 package providing a proper systemd service unit.

Jonathan Dowland: Blinkenlights, part 2

Planet Debian - Mon, 20/02/2017 - 17:31

Part two of a series. part 1, part 3.

To start with configuring my NAS to use the new blinkenlights, I thought I'd start with a really easy job: I plug in my iPod, a script runs to back it up, then the iPod gets unmounted. It's one of the simpler jobs to start with because the iPod is a simple block device and there's no encryption in play. For now, I'm also going to assume the LED Is going to be used exclusively for this job. In the future I will want many independent jobs to perhaps use the LED to signal things and figuring out how that will work is going to be much harder.

I'll skip over the journey and go straight to the working solution. I have a systemd job that is used to invoke a sync from the iPod as follows:

[Service] Type=oneshot ExecStart=/bin/mount /media/ipod ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/blinkstick --index 1 --limit 10 --set-color 33c280 ExecStart=/usr/bin/rsync ... ExecStop=/bin/umount /media/ipod ExecStop=/usr/local/bin/blinkstick --index 1 --limit 10 --set-color green [Install] WantedBy=dev-disk-by\x2duuid-A2EA\x2d96ED.device [Unit] OnFailure=blinkstick-fail.service

/media/ipod is a classic mount configured in /etc/fstab. I've done this rather than use the newer systemd .mount units which sadly don't give you enough hooks for running things after unmount or in the failure case. This feels quite unnatural, much more "systemdy" would be to Requires= the mount unit, but I couldn't figure out an easy way to set the LED to green after the unmount. I'm sure it's possible, but convoluted.

The first blinkstick command sets the LED to a colour to indicate "in progress". I explored some of the blinkstick tool's options for a fading or throbbing colour but they didn't work very well. I'll take another look in the future. After the LED is set, the backup job itself runs. The last blinkstick command, which is only run if the previous umount has succeeded, sets the LED to indicate "safe to unplug".

The WantedBy here instructs systemd that when the iPod device-unit is activated, it should activate my backup service. I can refer to the iPod device-unit using this name based on the partition's UUID; this is not the canonical device name that you see if you run systemctl but it's much shorter and crucially its stable, the canonical name depends on exactly where you plugged it in and what other devices might have been connected at the same time.

If something fails, a second unit blinkstick-fail.service gets activated. This is very short:

[Service] ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/blinkstick --index 1 --limit 50 --set-color red

This simply sets the LED to be red.

Again it's a bit awkward that in 2 cases I'm setting the LED with a simple Exec but in the third I have to activate a separate systemd service: this seems to be the nature of the beast. At least when I come to look at concurrent jobs all interacting with the LED, the failure case should be simple: red trumps any other activity, user must go and check what's up.

Jonathan Dowland: Blinkenlights!

Planet Debian - Mon, 20/02/2017 - 17:31


Part one of a series. part 2, part 3.

Late last year, I was pondering how one might add a status indicator to a headless machine like my NAS to indicate things like failed jobs.

After a brief run through of some options (a USB-based custom device; a device pretending to be a keyboard attached to a PS/2 port; commandeering the HD activity LED; commandeering the PC speaker wire) I decided that I didn't have the time to learn the kind of skills needed to build something at that level and opted to buy a pre-assembled programmable USB thing instead, called the BlinkStick.

Little did I realise that my friend Jonathan McDowell thought that this was an interesting challenge and actually managed to design, code and build something! Here's his blog post outlining his solution and here's his code on github (or canonically)

Even thought I've bought the blinkstick, given Jonathan's efforts (and the bill of materials) I'm going to have to try and assemble this for myself and give it a go. I've also managed to borrow an Arduino book from a colleague at work.

Either way, I still have some work to do on the software/configuration side to light the LEDs up at the right time and colour based on the jobs running on the NAS and their state.

Google and Microsoft agree to demote piracy search results in the UK

Ars Technica - Mon, 20/02/2017 - 17:10

(credit: INXS, Meditate)

Google and Microsoft's Bing have agreed to crack down on piracy sites in the UK, after years of wrangling with film and music rights holders.

The tech giants have inked a voluntary code of practice with the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and Motion Picture Association, following a series of talks overseen by the UK's copyright watchdog and steered by the department for culture, media, and sport.

On Monday, the Intellectual Property Office described it as a "landmark agreement" in which Google and Bing have vowed to reduce "the visibility of infringing content in search results by 1 June 2017." It means that repeat offenders who post pirated material online will see their sites drop off the first page of Google and Bing, when film and music fans search for content. Instead, they will apparently be shepherded towards legit sites.

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Flying at Light Speed Is Pretty Much Impossible—Unless You’re Han Solo

Wired - Mon, 20/02/2017 - 17:00
In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Han needs crazy fast reaction time to get inside the Starkiller shields without crashing into the planet. The post Flying at Light Speed Is Pretty Much Impossible—Unless You're Han Solo appeared first on WIRED.

Dealmaster: Presidents Day sales on laptops, TVs, and electronics

Ars Technica - Mon, 20/02/2017 - 16:45

Greetings, Arsians! Presidents Day is upon us, and courtesy of our partners at TechBargains, we have a new batch of deals for you. The featured item this week is a Dell XPS 13 laptop with a Core i7 Kaby Lake processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, and Windows 10 Pro. This notebook normally costs $1,399, but for a limited time, you can get it for just $1,049.

We have that and a ton of other Presidents Day deals below. For even more savings, check out TechBargains.


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New PlayStation 4 Pro patch for Final Fantasy XV makes it look worse

Ars Technica - Mon, 20/02/2017 - 16:20

Enlarge / Gosh, can't you guys look happy in paradise?

Up until today, the massive quest game Final Fantasy XV offered at least one "smooth" visual option for every single platform it's been released for—meaning, one option with a locked, mostly consistent frame rate. The catch has always been that PlayStation 4 Pro players have had to pick its simplest "lite" toggle (which removes all special visual enhancements) to enjoy this stable 30 frames-per-second refresh.

A new patch for the game went live on Monday, however, and owners of the pricier PlayStation 4 Pro may want to skip it if they dislike video stutter.

Unlike on Xbox One and standard PS4, the PS4 Pro version of FFXV asks players to pick from one of two visual modes. One of these turns up the resolution to somewhere near 1800p and adds other visual effects, but its frame rate is hampered by "frame pacing," in which its otherwise accurate 30Hz refresh is constantly interrupted by consistent judders. The other, "lite" mode originally dropped the resolution and other elements to nail a locked 30fps.

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Cantina Talk: A New Hope for a Last Jedi Trailer. Maybe

Wired - Mon, 20/02/2017 - 16:00
Rumors are circulating that it'll drop during Star Wars Celebration. The post Cantina Talk: A New Hope for a Last Jedi Trailer. Maybe appeared first on WIRED.

MIT’s New Wheelchair Drives Itself

Wired - Mon, 20/02/2017 - 15:30
MIT researchers are working to change mobility for the elderly and disabled. The post MIT's New Wheelchair Drives Itself appeared first on WIRED.

Snapchat Spectacles are now available to buy online for $129

Ars Technica - Mon, 20/02/2017 - 15:10

Enlarge (credit: Spectacles.com)

Snapchat's video- and photo-recording glasses are free from their vending machine-like restraints: Snapchat's parent company Snap Inc. has launched a website where you can buy Spectacles online for $129. Previously you could only find Snapchat Spectacles at strategically-placed vending machines called Snapbots in select cities. Now, anyone in the US can order them and have them shipped to their home.

Snap debuted the Google Glass-esque frames about six months ago as a funky way to record events in real-time to Snapchat without taking your phone out. When on your face and turned on, Spectacles record 10-second videos or take photos and send them directly to your connected Snapchat account. From there, you can share that content via your Story on Snapchat or with select friends. Spectacles are available in teal, coral, and black, and they come with a charging case and cable. You can also buy those accessories for $50 and $10, respectively. The website states customers should expect their Spectacles to be delivered in two to four weeks.

According to a TechCrunch report, Snapbots are taking a "nap," meaning the company won't be placing new Spectacle vending machines in cities at this time but the devices will likely return in the future.

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This Motorcycle Gear Will Bring Joy to Your Weekend Rides

Wired - Mon, 20/02/2017 - 15:00
The hottest gear for hitting the road, no matter the season. The post This Motorcycle Gear Will Bring Joy to Your Weekend Rides appeared first on WIRED.
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