Joey Hess: Palm Pre privacy

August 12, 2009

Seen on Planet Debian. The article:

I’ve been taking a closer look at the WebOS side of my Palm Pre tonight, and I noticed that it periodically uploads information to Palm, Inc.


Comments Off

Bdale Garbee: More Entropy is Better Entropy

July 28, 2009

USB entropy generators? Is this the future? The original post.

As already reported, while at Debconf9 this week, I succumbed to peer pressure, and have generated a new 4096-bit RSA key. Doing this was made substantially more pleasant (and certainly a bit more amusing!) by the fact that I was loaned a prototype of the new Simtec Entropy Key to play with.

Can’t wait until they’re in production and available for sale…

Basically, it’s “just” a very high quality hardware random number generator that sits on a USB interface. Associated with this is a small MIT-licensed daemon that gets loaded along with some udev configuration (all in a Debian package in my case), such that any time you plug it in, your system available entropy goes way up and stays up until you unplug it. It really is that easy! My new 4096-bit GPG key generated without perceptable delay, while the one my daughter made at the same time on her similar notebook required lots of mouse wiggling and I/O traffic generation to accumulate enough bits. A dramatic difference, to say the least!

Comments Off

Wearable Computer With Lightweight HUD

July 27, 2009

File under: the advance of ubiquitous computing, augmented reality, etc. The post on Slashdot.

zeazzz writes to mention that the folks over at UMPC have a very cool little writeup and pictorial of a user’s latest wearable PC. With the surge in smart phone adoption it seems that enthusiasm for wearable computers has dropped off a bit, which is too bad.

Comments Off

John Goerzen: Why I Buy $100 Fans (Review: Vornado)

July 17, 2009

With regard to: frivolously buying exactly the things I want. The original post.

Like anyone else, I try to find the best deal on things. Sometimes the best deal isn’t the thing that’s cheapest up front. I work for a company that makes some of the world’s best lawn mowers, for instance, but they aren’t the cheapest.

Anyhow: after a series of cheap $20-$50 Walmart fans failing in various ways (buttons falling off, motors starting to take a minute to get up to half speed, etc.), I bought my first Vornado fan back in 1997. They’re expensive, but I think worth it in the long run.

Comments Off

Wigitel W3 watch phone tells time, makes phone calls, obliterates self-esteem

July 15, 2009

I would have bought this for sure. The post on Engadget Mobile. (Edit: the post is now long gone, of course.)


Is it a piece of jewellery, a watch phone, or a resurrected and re-imagined Nokia 3650? The Wigitel W3 wants you to believe it’s all of the above, and contrary to popular belief, it’s available to own now. 4,799 Czech Koruna, or $260 in real cash money, buys you a ticket to the hottest show in somebody’s town: a 128 x 128 pixel internal screen, infinitesimally small external OLED display, Bluetooth, microSD expandability and a wildly unintuitive keyboard. It might not necessarily make supermodels swoon, but there’s a fair chance the wearer of this gem will draw much envy at his next MMORPG convention appearance. And seriously, who can’t dig a perk like that?

More pictures from another source.

Comments Off

Fellowship Interview with Smári McCarthy

July 2, 2009

Not gonna read the interview, but I like the evocative description. The post on LWN.

Stian Rødven Eide: One of the most profiled projects you have been involved with is the Fab Lab, having headed the Icelandic branch for over a year now. While best known for its use of 3D printers, the Fab Lab is actually a much broader concept that goes far beyond technical innovation. Can you tell us a bit about your work there, and what you hope to achieve? Smári McCarthy: There are two sides to the Fab Lab story. On the one hand, there’s the research side, which is all about developing the universal constructors, figuring out the hard science of digital fabrication. In that realm I think our work is done when we can download chicken sandwiches off the Internet.

Comments Off

he says, “I’ll let you know when I get dialer.el working.”

June 18, 2009

At long last! Via JWZ.


(Original post with no further information is here.)

Comments Off

Matthew Garrett: Palm Pre

June 10, 2009

The real open source smartphone = Palm Pre? Blech. The post on Matthew Garrett’s Livejournal:

I’m impressed. There’s a few rough edges and some obvious short-term hacks, but overall the Pre has the appearance of being a well-engineered distribution. It’s recognisably Linux in a way the Android isn’t. Since it seems to be possible to gain root by entering the developer mode, I suspect that modifying the firmware image isn’t especially difficult. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when GSM ones appear.

Comments Off

Tech Trends: Shanzhai

March 2, 2009

This is what happens when hardware goes open source. Thanks Adam!

The contemporary shanzhai are rebellious, individualistic, underground, and self-empowered innovators. They are rebellious in the sense that the shanzhai are celebrated for their copycat products; they are the producers of the notorious knock-offs of the iPhone and so forth. They individualistic in the sense that they have a visceral dislike for the large companies; many of the shanzhai themselves used to be employees of large companies (both US and Asian) who departed because they were frustrated at the inefficiency of their former employers. They are underground in the sense that once a shanzhai “goes legit” and starts doing business through traditional retail channels, they are no longer considered to be in the fraternity of the shanzai. They are self-empowered in the sense that they are universally tiny operations, bootstrapped on minimal capital, and they run with the attitude of “if you can do it, then I can as well”.

Comments Off