Have a break, have… an Android?

Fresh from this morning’s Slashdot news feed is this:

Today Google revealed that the next major version of the Android mobile operating system will be called ‘KitKat.’ The naming convention has always used sugary snacks in alphabetical order — Jelly Bean (4.1 – 4.3) followed Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0), which followed Honeycomb (3.1 – 3.2), which followed Gingerbread (2.3), and so on. Unlike the previous releases, KitKat is named after an actual product, rather than a generic treat. Thus, Google contacted Nestle, who was happy to jump on board and take advantage of the cross-marketing opportunities. According to an article at the BBC, the Android team was originally going to use ‘Key Lime Pie,’ but they decided it wasn’t familiar enough to most people. After finding some KitKat bars in the company fridge, they made the choice to switch. Nestle was on board ‘within an hour’ of hearing the idea.

Naturally, I couldn’t resist finding and posting this:

I'm not sure who to credit for this image, since it's propagated through the intarwebs at a rapid rate of knots.  If you do know, or if it's you, please get in touch.

Broken out

Yes, I’m aware that some (all?) people reading this probably know about this.  I don’t care; I just found this, and I think it’s awesome:

  1. Open up Google in your favourite web browser.
  2. Search for “Atari Breakout“.
  3. When the search results pop up, go to the image search (by, obviously, clicking “Images”).
  4. Prepare to waste the next few hours of your life.

OpenMediaVault 101

For those of you who don’t know what OpenMediaVault is, it’s a free (as in both speech and beer) operating system for media storage (which a lot of us geeky types seem to be building nowadays, including one of my slacker housemates), based on Debian and with a storage system not unlike FreeNAS.  If you want to learn more, I suggest running off to their website.

However, if you want to learn how to set it up, Monty over at my forum has documented his own experiences with getting it done (complete with an updated kernel, UPS drivers, and more).  If this sort of thing interests you, I really, really recommend that you go check it out.

The New Bane Rises

I don’t normally get into discussions about politics and all of that, but I couldn’t help commenting on Julius Malema’s new political party (the Economic Freedom Fighters, abbreviated to EFF — which confuses the hell out of my geeky mind, which associates the acronym EFF to the Electronic Frontier Foundation), and more specifically, their draft manifesto.  Anyway, ol’ Juju has taken his rather radical rhetoric to his own platform after being booted out of the ANC, as can be seen by what they’re pushing for:

  • All land should be transferred to state ownership.
  • All African borders should be dropped.
  • Certain criminal records should be scrapped.

Now, this sounds rather familiar.  One might be thinking about Zimbabwe, who went down a similar path (and look how well it turned out for them!), but if, like me, you’ve watched The Dark Knight Rises, it probably sounds even more familiar.

To this end, and courtesy of some photoshopping that the MyBroadband community has done, I present: Bane 2.0!

Julius "Bane" Malema

Thankfully, it’s quite likely that this story will have the same ending that the film did.  If not, then… “there’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you’re all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.”

If anyone wants to know what the “S” in S4 stands for…

… schizophrenic.

And that’s purely because mine can’t make up its mind whether it’s connected to a charger (which it is) or a docking station (which it isn’t) — after spending the better part of the day to get it to actually charge in the first place.  Hopefully, warranty should take care of it…

What I like most about my raid team…

… is that the extremely strong bond between all 10 of us is based solely on inappropriate activities that no sane person should have.  Ever.

Take for example, last night’s raid (in which we finally killed Blizzard’s latest incarnation of a headache of a boss fight for those of us who are colour co-ordination challenged).  I’ll let the post that popped up this morning in guild forums (no link, it’s restricted access) from our hunter titled “Epic Raid Fails” say it all:

We’re on our usual milo break, standing in front of the eyeball, when Mr Smartypants (That’s Cataplexy) decides he wants to kill a rogue. He lifegrips Gatstamper to in front of the boss, runs off giggling and mind sears him from a distance.

Of course mechanics don’t work the way him thinks they do. Firstly mind sear doesn’t draw aggro to the target and secondly the damn rogue was stealthed. Durumu wakes up and because there’s no one in melee range he proceeds to wipe out the rest of the raid. Whoever wasn’t zapped got dunked in the water by the dropping platform and the only survivors were one lucky hunter who saw it coming and squeaked through on a feign death (yes that’s me)

and a totally oblivious rogue.

I look forward to the retaliation.

Stay tuned for the next installment.  Which will probably be after Thursday night’s raid.

In search of paradigm shifts

The ironic thing about me putting up a “fighting against the tide” post yesterday is that the same thing is happening in the protection paladin community at the moment.  However, there’s a lot more of us available for said fighting.

I’ll simply let my post on the official World of Warcraft forums explain it all.  Note that it is very protection paladin specific: if you don’t play World of Warcraft, much less play a protection paladin within the game, you’ll likely be either uninterested or confused — so, I’ve hidden it behind the break.

Continue reading

In Kazakhstan we have three major problem…

… social, economic, and… exploding space rocket.  (Apologies to Borat, but I couldn’t resist!)

Spaceflight Now has the full story:

A Russian Proton rocket went out of control and slammed into the steppes of Kazakhstan mere moments after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Monday night.

The government booster was carrying three Russian navigation satellites on the ill-fated mission that launched at 0238 GMT (10:38 p.m. EDT).

Live video showed the Proton gyrating left and then right as it ascended off the pad before going horizontal, barrel rolling and falling into a nose dive. The front end of the rocket sheared away and the main stage erupted in a massive fireball before hitting the ground in a horrific explosion.

The entire flight appeared to last a half-minute.

Russian rockets do not carry self-destruct explosives like Western boosters, which prevented any attempt to destroy the wayward Proton before impact.

A Russian Federal Space Agency statement said an emergency committee being created would be headed by Deputy Head of Roscosmos Alexander Lopatin.

Standing 19-stories tall, the rocket weighed nearly 1.5 million pounds at launch, its first three stages loaded with unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide propellants and the upper stage filled with kerosene and liquid oxygen.

The Proton is built by the Khrunichev State Research and Production and RSC Energia makes the Block DM upper stage.

Six main engines ignite at liftoff to power the vehicle away from the launch pad and burns for two minutes. The second stage and its four engines fire through five-and-a-half minutes of the mission before the third stage and its single engine takes over. The upper stage then completes the necessary burns to shape the orbit for deployment of the spacecraft.

Monday’s launch featured a three-stage Proton core vehicle topped with a Block DM upper stage to maneuver three GLONASS navigation satellites — Nos. 48, 49 and 50 — into their desired Earth orbit.

The flight was carrying fresh craft for the space-based navigation constellation, which transmits positioning signals for military and civilian users. The satellites fly 12,000 miles above the planet in 64.8-degree inclination orbits. The system is similar in concept to the U.S. GPS network.

It was 388th Proton rocket to launch since 1965 and the fifth this year, following a series of commercial missions.

The program has suffered five failures in the past two-and-a-half years, mostly due to upper stage issues. Three other GLONASS satellites were lost in a botched launch in late 2010 due to a fuel miscalculation that prevented the vehicle from reaching orbit.

The next launch, presumably grounded for the investigation, was slated for July 21 carrying the commercial ASTRA 2E broadcast satellite for Europe.

Here’s an amateur video showing the entire sequence.  At a ~9 second delay, this puts the amateur observers at around 3 km from the launch pad (assuming the launch pad is at sea level, which it probably isn’t, but the estimate is still probably close enough).  These guys were lucky that “exploding space rocket” didn’t head in their direction…

Of course, this begs the question: why does all interesting/weird stuff always seem to happen in that part of the world?

Cloud computing, a tad too literally

I couldn’t help but chuckle when this Slashdot post popped up:

The Register carries the funniest, most topical IT story of the year: ‘Facebook’s first data center ran into problems of a distinctly ironic nature when a literal cloud formed in the IT room and started to rain on servers. Though Facebook has previously hinted at this via references to a ‘humidity event’ within its first data center in Prineville, Oregon, the social network’s infrastructure king Jay Parikh told The Reg on Thursday that, for a few minutes in Summer, 2011, Facebook’s data center contained two clouds: one powered the social network, the other poured water on it.

Someone had better explain to Facebook that having an actual cloud in the data centre isn’t really what cloud computing is all about!

That said, this has happened before.  Boeing’s Everett factory (initially constructed to assemble the 747, and now assembles all of their widebody jets) used to have clouds forming near the ceiling, before the installation of a specialised air circulation system sorted that little problem out.  Evidently, some are destined to repeat history’s mistakes…

Screwy system authorization

When the latest xkcd deals with this, you know that our system authorization design may just be ever so slightly on the screwed-up side of the fence…

Mouseover on the original: “Before you say anything, no, I know not to leave my computer sitting out logged in to all my accounts. I have it set up so after a few minutes of inactivity it automatically switches to my brother’s.”