We Are (Almost) ARMed And A Danger To Wintel

“FOB Price: US $35 – 50 / Set Ibox6818 Front Hardware Interfaces InformationName StateCPU S5P6818 ARM Cortex A53, 4*1.4Ghz+PMU AXP228Memory THGBMBG6D1KBAIL, 8GB EmmcFlash H5TQ4G83FFR-PBC DDR3 2GB, 1GB OptionalLCD/VGA Interface RGB Output InterfaceMIPI Interface Connect with Mipi Interface LCD DisplayLVDS Interface Connect with LVDS Interface LCD DisplayIr Remote Control HS0038BSoftware On/Off Key On/Off, and Wake-up KeyKey, User-Defined Independent Key, SW1Key, User-Defined Independent Key, SW2TF Card, CH0 TF Card, Channel 0Hard Reset Key Hard Reset KeyHDMI Interface HDMI Output InterfaceGPIO Interface SPI, UART, ADC device extensionUART0 Debug UART0USB OTG USB OTG InterfaceSpeaker External speaker outputHeadset Record inputBattery Single 4.2V Lithium Battery5V Input Interface DC Power InterfaceEarphone Earphone OutputUSB HOST HUB Chip Extension, dual channels HOSTEthernet The Gigabit Ethernet, RT8211E InterfaceVGA Interface SDA7123 VGA Interface”
See Octa Core Motherboard G6818 Arm Cortex A53 Android Single Board Computer – Buy Octa Core Motherboard,Arm Cortex A53,Android Single Board Computer Product on Alibaba.com
This Graperain 6818 motherboard is very close to what I want for new computers in my home. It has sufficient computing power, good connectivity, low price and low power-consumption. It would be perfect if it had

  • More and faster RAM – 800 MHz and 2gB is so 2010…
  • SATA storage – we’ll have to use NAS or SATA/USB docks

As is this thing can run either Android/Linux or GNU/Linux. The 2gB RAM thing can be worked around by using a cluster of such devices and running some processes on each. The browser is awkward though. The Little Woman and I both regularly use 2gB real and 2gB virtual RAM while browsing, making Beast swap occasionally. Beast has 4gB now and would grow to 8 or 16gB if upgraded. A cluster of 4 of these things could easily replace Beast and one more would be a great thin client for her. Capital cost would be about:

  • $400 CDN for motherboards,
  • $25 for a decent dock with USB/ethernet,
  • $150 for some new large hard drives.
  • Total – $575 to please two or more users and drive a spike into the heart of Wintel.

Most applications we use would just love to be on such a cluster. The browser is the exception. Firefox does not play well with clusters, loving to have one process with a gazillion tabs open. Swapping over gigabit/s Ethernet is an option. Must invest in an all-gigabit switch…

I could wait a bit for the maker to upgrade RAM or I could just go ahead and buy these as they are. This would be my first ARMed general-purpose computing system other than smartphones. Perhaps I will buy one and play with it first. Either way we are in an exciting time in the evolution of IT. For the first time in ages, there are viable alternatives to Wintel on every front.

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Zaragoza Going The FLOSS Route

“The Spanish city of Zaragoza continues to expand its use of free and open source software. The city administration now has 1200 of its 3000 PCs running the AZLinux desktop, which is based on Ubuntu Linux. On all workstations, LibreOffice is the default office suite, and the city by default uses the Open Document Format ODF.
“We try to use free and open source software solutions wherever we can”, says Eduardo Romero, the IT specialist who is leading Zaragoza’s desktop transition project.”
See Zaragoza continues its transition to open source
Remember when Munich was news? Well, here we are a decade later and it’s just routine that local governments are going to FLOSS. It just makes sense: spend less on licences, avoid monopoly prices, and take control of your IT in the organization. What’s not to like?

Again, the key is avoiding the lock-in of the office suite. LibreOffice is so good that’s getting to be easy once the macros are scrapped. Who needs them? Use web-applications or other FLOSS tools and be done with them. The file formats are now not even on the radar, thanks to the thousand or so developers contributing tweaks to the Libreoffice code.

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​U.S. Government data shows */Linux Operating Growing On Web Clients

“Linux usage remains flat, at about 1 percent, but Chrome OS usage is up significantly. In the last week of August, Chromebooks accounted for 0.9 percent of visits to the government’s network of sites. With the beginning of the new school year in September, those numbers began to rise sharply, reaching 1.6% in the first three weeks of November. The timing of that growth spurt suggests that Chromebooks really are making a dent in the education market.”
See ​U.S. Government data shows Windows 10 usage climbing as Windows 7 share drops sharply

As Chrome OS is a locked-down GNU/Linux desktop with a web-browser as the user-interface, I count this as a victory of GNU/Linux in the home country of that other OS. Chrome OS is thriving in schools where the next generation are getting the IT they need at a price they can afford, free of monopoly. */Linux is thriving everywhere except on the desktop so we know if the desktop OS were invented today the outcome would not be in doubt.

Often the successful attack is not a headlong charge but a flanking movement.

Oh, yes, of the “1.52 billion visits over the past 90 days”, 33.5% were not from the desktop… Android/Linux had 15% share. Oh yes, this is a victory for all things open and Free. Monopoly desktop OSs are like the zombies on “The Walking Dead” TV-series. They try to keep going missing lots of important parts but they don’t do very well despite the numbers… GNU/Linux seems to do best on weekends when folks are home during office hours.

You can look at OS yourselves by checking out the government site.

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Why I Love 8mm Mausers

Chuckle. I just got banned from a forum on firearms. The resident troll was the moderator. So, I guess I’ll be writing here more often about firearms.

One of the first rifles I ever bought was a Mauser 98k in military dress. It’s a rugged, reliable beast. It has lots of merit:

  • The rifle, at least before the middle of WWII was well made and easy to maintain. The bolt could be completely stripped without tools to remove sand/dirt/whatever. It was a little heavy but shorter than earlier models.
  • Even the steel of which this rifle was made is nice. It scarcely needs lubrication because the parts that need to slide do slide very well.
  • The safety can lock the firing pin and/or bolt which is great for hunting in the real world where branches and grass are always reaching for you and your equipment.
  • The trigger is fairly standard but smooth.
  • The lock time is not bad but a bit worse than many modern sporters. You have to “follow through”… The spring of the firing pin is very strong but unfortunately, the mass of the firing pin is great too.
  • In good light, the sights are crisp enough for shooting targets to hundreds of yards. I like to blacken mine with the flame of a wooden match if shooting in sunshine.
  • The weight of the rifle makes recoil very manageable.
  • The cartridge, 8X57JS was one of the earliest smokeless powder cartridges and it is a classic forming the basic head and body of many modern cartridges for rifles. In particular, 7X57 and .30-’06 were derived from the same case. As usual, the USAians made their cartridge bigger for no particular benefit except to waste powder.
  • The bullet, being a bit larger diameter than popular .30 calibres, hits a bit harder and hunting bullets open more reliably. A tradeoff is somewhat shorter range, but at about 350 yards for deer, it is quite useful, even with iron sights.
  • It’s easy to add a scope but one has to drill and tap the receiver for scope bases. I have one such project in the pipeline.
  • Bullets are few and far between for 8mm but there are some good ones. I like Hornady’s 170 gr RN for deer up to about 200 yards and their 150 SP is excellent to 350 yards without adjusting zero. No deer has ever complained to me about the performance.
  • There’s nothing like the “WHACK!” an 8mm bullet makes on the rib-cage of a white-tailed deer. It’s usually enough to knock them over and they rarely get up again.

Some deride my choice of these two bullets but they work well. For long range shooting one needs a long pointed bullet travelling fast so that it will deliver enough energy at high enough velocity to expand at long range. For short range hunting one needs a heavy RN bullet travelling slowly. Faster bullets tend to disintegrate on impact and mess things up. No single bullet does both jobs well. The Mausers have a cutout in the receiver for a stripper clip so I just load a RN bullet on top of a pointed bullet in the stripper clip and in seconds I load up the rifle for walking around or guarding a narrow space. If I move to an open space I can cycle the bolt and immediately have access to a better bullet for long range shooting. Compare that to the guy buying a huge magnum rifle with sexy bullets. He can shoot deer to 400 yards without adjusting his sights, a rarely-used advantage and he risks spoiling a deer on impact inside 150 yards… I think the Mauser solution is nearly perfect. I love it.

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Business Gets FLOSS

“Going back just five years, open source was all about offering cheaper alternatives to proprietary software. Today, it’s moved from commoditization to open source being about faster innovation. Innovation is happening first in open source. If you’re doing any type of a scale-out infrastructure, it’s probably going to be open source. If you’re looking at implementing a DevOps process, you’ll want to be using open source. If you’re going to do anything with big data, it’s going to be open source. And, of course, the cloud was born using open source software”
See Red Hat CEO and Microsoft EVP On The Evolution Of Open Source And Business
This has been the case for several years now, that business wants to put most new projects together using FLOSS. It makes sense. They have more flexibility. Easier/faster licensing. They can get things done sooner. That’s what I found in schools a decade earlier.

What still has to happen however is FLOSS on the desktops. Business is not there yet. They still are not convinced that GNU/Linux, Firefox, and LibreOffice can do most of what they need done, especially now that so much computing is done on servers. There’s no need for lock-in on the desktop but most businesses are locked in, not by particular applications but by M$’s stuff seriously designed to lock folks in. Those that are free to use FLOSS are still thinking inside that box even though it’s no longer nailed shut.

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The Hunt 2015 – Day Eight

We dressed very warmly today and went out once again. We saw nothing of interest but a poacher and lots of fresh tracks. The poacher was sitting in a truck with a rifle handy and high-beam lights illuminating “our” opening in the forest.

  1. Vehicles are not permitted in that place except to retrieve a kill by the most direct route…
  2. Searching for deer is not allowed from a vehicle at any time, and
  3. hunting earlier than half an hour before sunrise is not allowed.

We might still go out one more time but it’s not looking good. Apparently the deer retreated from the storm into the forest but have now returned to the edges just outside our reach now that better weather has returned.

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The Hunt 2015 – Day Seven Point Five

Well, we finally had a break in the crazy non-winter weather, a real, honest to Goodness, Colorado Low brought in a bit of snow, cold temperatures and wind. As unpleasant as that is for hunters, it’s also unpleasant for deer and they spend more time in the forests, public lands, where we citizens may hunt them after dancing through hoops and paying a licensing fee.

So, this afternoon a buddy and I went out again and scouted a popular place for deer. It’s just an “L”-shaped opening in the forest that gets in the way of deer in their wanderings so they have to show themselves to us snipers laying in wait. There were plenty of new tracks made in the last day or so, crisp, fresh and of all sizes, going every which-way. We guessed that our usual spot was now optimal and set up in the middle of the “L”.

We waited and we waited. Then, we waited some more. Nothing happened. The stupid wind died, came to life and repeated from random directions, mostly from the west. Finally, with seconds left in the shooting day with darkness descending, a form moved across the opening about 150 yards away, beyond the effective range of my .54 round balls. It was already too dark for me to make out the details and I could not even see my open sights so I whispered to my buddy and pointed downrange. The deer immediately noticed and fixed us with a stare. My buddy didn’t fire. Because the deer wasn’t moving he didn’t see it at all and he didn’t bother to deploy the scope nor the monocular around his neck… After another blurt from me the deer ran off, curled up like a rabbit, so I expect it was a doe but at least our effort brought the sight of fur. Big bucks move with a more rigid spine more like a battleship than a fawn-factory. I think it’s just a matter of flexibility.

It’s puzzling that my partner could not see the beast but he related that he had been staring west into the sunset so his night vision was fried. Sigh… We packed up and headed home empty-handed once again. At least I saw a deer of some kind and a shrew running on the snow. We were rewarded with a nice hot cup of cocoa, somewhat like my mother used to make by the gallon for us kids.

Maybe tomorrow…

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“French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has said European countries must “wake up” to terror threats, following the attacks in Paris that left 129 people dead.”
See Paris attacks: France calls on EU to ‘wake up’ to threat
“The killing of a Chinese national by the Islamic State (IS) militant group has sent shockwaves across China.
Official reaction was swift. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned IS for the kidnapping and killing of Fan Jinghui, and vowed to “bring the culprits to justice”. “
See IS killing of Chinese hostage: A game changer?
I am so frustrated by the defensive attitude of so many governments to ISIS and other threats. Building walls won’t even slow these guys down. They have to be killed just like human wave attacks against machine-guns and artillery. You can’t keep all of them out. You have to kill them.

ISIS wants to die. It is a death-cult. Grant them their wish. Send multiple armies with close air support to wipe them out. We can’t reason with them. We can’t change how we operate to please them. We can’t appease them. We have to kill them.

The Canadian Government is treating IS like a natural disaster they can deal with by sending food, tents and blankets. That won’t work. ISIS is coming for us. They won’t stay home. They won’t quit spreading their disgusting propaganda to incite weak minds. They won’t stop until they are all dead. Canada should immediately seek to mobilize, recruiting ~100K shooters. We can make short work of ISIS. They can’t kill us all if we work together. The world should put a million soldiers with air-cover in Syria and Iraq and clean up the place. Instead of us letting terrorists kill 20 citizens for every one of theirs that dies we should kill 50 of them for every casualty on our side until they are finished.

I appreciate that destabilizing Iraq was a trigger for ISIS but that’s not our fault. Bush and his folks made Sadaam’s army unemployed and ISIS picked up the pieces. We don’t have to repeat that mistake. The Kurds in Iraq and Syria can run a country properly. They won’t bow to ISIS. Arm the Kurds. Join forces with them and kick butt. ISIS is still tiny by global standards. It’s not too late to stop it before we have real problems.

The USAians are claiming Iraq, Saudi Arabia and others will have to step up. We can’t wait for that. Take over Iraq and Syria as failed states and nurse them back to health. The Saudis have long had a chance to help so they should not complain if we, the world, fix the problem. It’s our problem too and we should not expect the Saudis to fix our problems.

Clinton is right about closing Syrian airspace. She’s wrong about not putting in troops. It takes troops to hold territory. Europe, North America, the Chinese now, even the Russians should all see it is in our best interests to put a lid on this mess right now. While we are at it, we can fix Palestine too. That festering sore is older than I am.

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Android/Linux In Europe, Nov 2015

Country Share of Page-views (%)
Poland 44.76
Turkey 38.02
Albania 24.94
Spain 24.46
Montenegro 22.45
Ireland 19.4
Finland 19.34
Netherlands 18.75
Macedonia 18.68
Cyprus 18.47
Bulgaria 17.46
Croatia 17.04
Andorra 17.03
Germany 16
Romania 15.81
Italy 15.28
Austria 15.17
Slovakia 14.98
Serbia 14.87
Belarus 14.53
United Kingdom 14.24
Sweden 14.05
Estonia 13.24
Slovenia 13.05
Malta 12.63
Switzerland 12.34
Greece 12.24
Gibraltar 12.17
Bosnia and Herzegovina 12.17
France 11.75
Jersey 11.62
Moldova 11.58
Belgium 11.35
Liechtenstein 10.83
Portugal 10.65
Norway 10.2
See Top Operating Systems Per Country in Europe, Nov 2015
It’s hard to see GNU/Linux systems taking major share even in Europe where it is most popular but in small cheap computers, Android/Linux is king in Europe as in much of the world. Most of the countries in Europe are making 10% or more of their page-views from Android/Linux devices. I’m sure there is some of that share coming from folks who don’t use desktop/notebook PCs. Just the fact that many young folks have their Android/Linux smartphone bolted to their hips precludes them from needing a classical PC to get what they need, connectivity in a connected world. Many of them care nothing for a keyboard because they have flexible thumbs and sharp eyes…

I’m still wanting an ARMed desktop system because my thumbs are not flexible and my eyes aren’t that sharp. I like my aircraft-carrier keyboard and big flat screens. I thought today I would be able to buy such a beast to replace my current fire-breathing Beast but I still see most effort going into smartphones which can’t handle my needs for fast and slow storage. The CPUs are there but the RAM isn’t. I’m ready to go to 8gB RAM and no smartphone has that yet. I need to connect my SATA drives or a gigabit/s network at least. Perhaps I’ll have to wait until next year. There are motherboards that come close but they aren’t there yet.

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The Hunt 2015 – Day Seven

Well, this is a new record, seven days of hunting deer without any good chance. I think the deer have won.

It’s not fair…

  • They’ve had the slowest start to winter ever. No snow. Not even cold. They’re just lying out in the fields or at the edges. They don’t have to show up at the public hunting areas for food or shelter.

I guess we’ll just have to wait for another year when winter comes howling and the deer congregate in the forests where we can find them by their tracks in the snow. Today I did my best walking many miles. Setting many ambushes. Same with other hunters. No one made a kill within miles of my favourite hunting spot.

The day wasn’t a complete loss. My blood sugar must be in great shape. I saw some really magnificent trees and some that were suffering. The poor oaks are barely hanging on with pines towering over them. The pines love the area. Some are getting to be ancient. Others are being knocked down by wind before they reach their prime. That’s life I guess. I saw pretty large wolf prints. I’ll bet wolves manage to take some of these fawns at night when they are wandering about.

Posted in firearms, food, hunting | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Go Bern Council! FLOSS!

“The council of the Swiss capital of Bern on 12 November ordered the IT department to end its dependence on proprietary software. The council halved the city request for a six-year licence contract, and insisted on an exit plan. A majority of councillors wants the city to replace proprietary software by open source solutions, such as Linux and LibreOffice.”
See Bern council demands transition to open source
I’d like to think IT departments are run by rational people who could choose and implement FLOSS on their own but sometimes it takes a kick in the butt to move from concept to implementation. I doubt it takes a vote of council to choose to repair broken light-bulbs. It shouldn’t to fix broken IT. IT is broken if an organization has to pay for permission to use the computers and networks that it owns.

I don’t know why FLOSS should have to be voted in a council but here we have it again. IT departments should just announce smaller budgetary requests and make it happen. Bern, like many jurisdictions in Europe will have Free Software sooner or later.

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The Hunt 2015 – Day Six

This day, I dressed more lightly for walking. The forecast was for gusty winds but it was almost calm. I just walked a bit when I became cool. It worked. I was very comfortable.

The worst event of the day was when some hunters zeroed their rifle just a couple of hundred yards from me. I checked them out and moved on. The forest was beautiful. I found many tracks but no deer. I identified a lonely siberian elm tree. It’s an invasive species and spreads like a weed. Today I phoned the Forestry branch to inform them but they are not concerned because it doesn’t win against the pines on that sandy soil.

At the end of the day, I found my walkie-talkie had somehow moved to the wrong channel so I wasn’t able to keep in touch. In the dark, I didn’t read the change… I also discovered I had not my favourite ammunition for walking in bush, .308 Winchester 180 gr RN on 43.5gr IMR4064. I’ll fix that next time. It’s time to take another day off. One of the other hunters found deer at a meadow in the woods. He’s going to stake it out by himself today.

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