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Closed Source, No Exceptions

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Source: http://planet.samba.org/

September 08, 2011

Chris

Closed Source, No Exceptions

 

The first few days of the school year are always a rush of working out schedules, buying books, buying supplies, and fielding the administrivia associated with the education system.  Annoying and difficult, particularly when there are multiple schools involved, but still surmountable.

Until this morning when we hit an unexpected roadblock.

My daughter is a Junior in High School but, thanks to a really cool program offered through our public school system, she will be attending a language class at the University of Minnesota this semester.  She started yesterday.

It seems, however, that the UofM has signed up to provide audio media via iTunes.  Specifically, Apple's iTunes U service.

We don't own a Macintosh.  Neither do we own an iPad/iPed/iPid/iPod or iPud.  We also do not run MS-Windows, which is the only platform other than Apple's own that has an iTunes application supported by Apple.  We run Linux, OpenBSD, and Android at our house.  Those tools work for us.


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The Ruins Of Dead Social Networks

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Source: TheAtlantic.com
Sep 20 2011, 1:17 PM ET - Alexis Madrigal - Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology.

It was about 20 years ago that I first discovered what a telephone line and a computer could do when they came together. They made a virtual world. While stumbling through the manual for our old Zenith, I'd found a telephone number for a local bulletin board system and figured out how to dial into it. I found a world much more interesting than anything I could generate by typing commands at the C:/ prompt.

koala-bear.jpg

Bulletin board systems were one forerunner to today's social networks. You could post messages and photos, play games, and download all kinds of apps. On the small ones I knew, one or two of us could dial in at a time, and most were from the same area code and prefix as you were because otherwise you had to pay long distance charges. (This now sounds as strange as a description of handcranking a car to start it.) So, the BBS was actually a hyperlocal social network.

I messed around with Los Angeles BBSs, but I had other things to attend to like catching lizards and playing street hockey with the neighborhood homies. But then in '92, my family moved to rural Washington state. Suddenly I was stranded way out at the end of a gravel road in a drizzly little city. I had friends, but they were miles away, so at home, it was just me and Wired Magazine and our new 14.4 modem.

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Smiley Turns Twenty Nine

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K+Club Source: By Tony Long, WIRED.com

Sept. 19, 1982: Can�t You Take a Joke? :-)

1982: At precisely 11:44 a.m., Scott Fahlman posts the following electronic message to a computer-science department bulletin board at Carnegie Mellon University:

19-Sep-82 11:44 Scott E Fahlman :-)
From: Scott E Fahlman

I propose that the following character sequence for joke markers:

:-)

Read it sideways. Actually, it is probably more economical to mark things that are NOT jokes, given current trends. For this, use:

:-(

With that post, Fahlman became the acknowledged originator of the ASCII-based emoticon. From those two simple emoticons (a portmanteau combining the words emotion and icon) have sprung dozens of others that are the joy, or bane, of e-mail, text-message and instant-message correspondence the world over.

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SpaceX F9/DRAGON PREPARING FOR ISS

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F9/DRAGON:  PREPARING FOR ISS

Over the last several months, SpaceX has been hard at work preparing for our next flight; a mission designed to demonstrate that a privately-developed space transportation system can deliver cargo to and from the International Space Station (ISS). NASA has given us a Nov. 30, 2011 launch date, which should be followed nine days later by Dragon berthing at the ISS.
 
NASA has agreed in principle to allow SpaceX to combine all of the tests and demonstration activities that we originally proposed as two separate missions (COTS Demo 2 and COTS Demo 3) into a single mission. Furthermore, SpaceX plans to carry additional payloads aboard the Falcon 9's second stage which will deploy after Dragon separates and is well on its way to the ISS.  NASA will grant formal approval for the combined COTS missions pending resolution of any potential risks associated with these secondary payloads. Our team continues to work closely with NASA to resolve all questions and concerns.

[Continue (with photos)...]

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10 Ways To Access Blocked Websites

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Source: databytez.com [DeadLink]

Websites like facebook, twitter and other social networking sites are generally blocked in schools, colleges and offices. There exist some tricks by which you can bypass the restrictions and access blocked sites, the most obvious is the use of proxies or Anonymizer websites. But using proxies doesn�t always works as they gets blocked by firewall as well. Here I am listing some other methods to access blocked contents.

1. Use IP instead of URL

Each website has its equivalent ip address. This method works best when blocked sites are stored as a list of URLs. You can use ip address to access blocked contents . For example to access facebook you can use ip address 69.63.189.11 in your address bar. You can use ip-address.com to find the ip address of other websites.

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psychedelic-screen-melt

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I have always enjoyed the odd optical illusion
and was excited to discover the Mighty Optical Illusions website.
I lifted this example to catch your eye. Click the image to enlarge.


Source: Mighty Optical Illusions

[QUOTE]

Like always, once I get to see improved, better version of a previously featured submission - it goes live immediately! It doesn’t matter how many times similar effect has already been showcased. And what we have here today is "seemingly animated" pattern on steroids! If I can recall correctly, last one I have enjoyed so much (belonging to the same category) was the Running Snakes promo. Check out the psychedelic formation below! Can you really believe the image is static, and that the motion is just an illusion? Try opening it in full-size to experience the effect in its full glory. From now on, this one is my favorite!

[...] Scoop: Mighty Optical Illusions (c) is a website dedicated to optical illusions, magic tricks and puzzles. And the best thing about them, they’re free! Yes, free free free pictures free images! Single sentence describes this website perfectly: "When the perception turns against you!". Providing regular updates, giving quick and easy aces to our database makes our guests coming back. We are growing fast and giving our best to keep the throne of Internet leading Optical Illusion website. ...

[/QUOTE]

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Mystery Blast In Space

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NASA Telescopes Join Forces To Observe Unprecedented Explosion

closeup of GRB110328A
Images from Swift's Ultraviolet/Optical (white, purple) and X-ray telescopes (yellow and red) were combined in this view of GRB 110328A. The blast was detected only in X-rays, which were collected over a 3.4-hour period on March 28. Credit: NASA/Swift/Stefan Immler
› Expanded image with labels

Hubble image showing location of GRB110328A
This is a visible-light image of GRB 110328A's host galaxy (arrow) taken on April 4 by the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3. The galaxy is 3.8 billion light-years away. Credit: NASA/ESA/A. Fruchter (STScI)
› Larger image

Chandra image of grb110328a
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory completed this four-hour exposure of GRB 110328A on April 4. The center of the X-ray source corresponds to the very center of the host galaxy imaged by Hubble (red cross). Credit: NASA/CXC/ Warwick/A. Levan
› Larger image

Gamma ray light curve graph recorded by Chandra
GRB 110328A has repeatedly flared in the days following its discovery by Swift. This plot shows the brightness changes recorded by Swift's X-ray Telescope. Credit: NASA/Swift/Penn State/J. Kennea
› Larger image

WASHINGTON -- NASA's Swift satellite, Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory have teamed up to study one of the most puzzling cosmic blasts ever observed. More than a week later, high-energy radiation continues to brighten and fade from its location.
Astronomers say they have never seen such a bright, variable, high-energy, long-lasting burst before. Usually, gamma-ray bursts mark the destruction of a massive star, and flaring emission from these events never lasts more than a few hours.


Although research is ongoing, astronomers feel the unusual blast likely arose when a star wandered too close to its galaxy's central black hole. Intense tidal forces probably tore the star apart, and the infalling gas continues to stream toward the hole. According to this model, the spinning black hole formed an outflowing jet along its rotational axis. A powerful blast of X- and gamma rays is seen when the jet is pointed in our direction.


On March 28, Swift's Burst Alert Telescope discovered the source in the constellation Draco when it erupted with the first in a series of powerful blasts.

"We know of objects in our own galaxy that can produce repeated bursts, but they are thousands to millions of times less powerful than the bursts we are seeing. This is truly extraordinary," said Andrew Fruchter at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.
Swift determined a position for the explosion, which now is cataloged as gamma-ray burst (GRB) 110328A, and informed astronomers worldwide.

As dozens of telescopes turned to study the spot, astronomers quickly noticed a small, distant galaxy very near the Swift position. A deep image taken by Hubble on Monday, April 4, pinpointed the source of the explosion at the center of this galaxy, which lies 3.8 billion light-years away from Earth. That same day, astronomers used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory to make a four-hour-long exposure of the puzzling source. The image, which locates the X-ray object 10 times more precisely than Swift, shows it lies at the center of the galaxy Hubble imaged.

"We have been eagerly awaiting the Hubble observation," said Neil Gehrels, the lead scientist for Swift at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "The fact that the explosion occurred in the center of a galaxy tells us it is most likely associated with a massive black hole. This solves a key question about the mysterious event."

Most galaxies, including our own, contain central black holes with millions of times the sun's mass; those in the largest galaxies can be a thousand times larger. The disrupted star probably succumbed to a black hole less massive than the Milky Way's, which has a mass four million times that of our sun.

Astronomers previously have detected stars disrupted by supermassive black holes, but none have shown the X-ray brightness and variability seen in GRB 110328A. The source has undergone numerous flares. Since Sunday, April 3, for example, it has brightened by more than five times.

Scientists think the X-rays may be coming from matter moving near the speed of light in a particle jet that forms along the rotation axis of the spinning black hole as the star's gas falls into a disk around the black hole.

"The best explanation at the moment is we happen to be looking down the barrel of this jet," said Andrew Levan at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, who led the Chandra observations. "When we look straight down these jets, a brightness boost lets us view details we might otherwise miss."

This brightness increase, which is called relativistic beaming, occurs when matter moving close to the speed of light is viewed nearly head on. Astronomers plan additional Hubble observations to see if the galaxy's core changes brightness.

Goddard manages Swift and Hubble. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages Chandra. Hubble was built and is operated in partnership with the European Space Agency. Science operations for all three missions include contributions from many national and international partners.

Francis Reddy
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, Md.


For more information and images associated with these observations, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/features/star-disintegration.html


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