Blog

A Network Radio device can connect to GSM cellular networks as well as VHF or UHF radio bands

Posted on: Wed, 2018-09-26 - 21:10 By: admin

A Network Radio device can connect to GSM cellular networks as well as VHF or UHF radio bands

The IRN (International Radio Network) is a VoIP/RoIP system using Teamspeak 3 (TS3) that allows radio users to TX/RX using RF around the World using different devices (Mobile Phones, Tablets, Computers etc) for free. The system also allows users to create private talkgroups for point to point or private group QSO’s.

The Rfinder K1 DMR 4G/LTE VHF/UHF device linked to below is an all-in-one Transceiver (VHF or UHF) analogue and DMR Tier 2, with an embedded 4G/LTE Android smartphone. This is a proper radio transceiver so you would need a HAM radio license to transmit on it.

The really interesting part is that these devices also seem to run Zello and TeamSpeak 3, both of which also operate on normal Android and iOS phones as well as from desktop computers. So even plain GSM phone users can get in on the action using one of these software apps on their phones. The advantages for the more advanced transceiver devices though are if the cellular networks or Internet went down in an area they naturally could still communicate via normal amateur radio bands.

The Rfinder device will also operate as a normal walkie-talkie.

See https://network-radios.com/index.php/product/rfinder-k1/ ot=r watch a video about this device at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkdfxZgmu0I.

#IRN #zello #teamspeak3


Rfinder K1 DMR 4G/LTE VHF/UHF – Network Radios

Vivaldi Browser version 2.0 stable released with encrypted sync

Posted on: Wed, 2018-09-26 - 13:33 By: admin

Vivaldi Browser version 2.0 stable released with encrypted sync

It's been a long wait but looks like version is finally released today. The key addition is sync is finally available. Other key changes are Resizable Tab Tiling and Floating Web Panels and over 1,500 other improvements since the first version of Vivaldi.

See https://vivaldi.com/blog/vivaldi-2-0-your-browser-matters/

#vivaldi


Vivaldi 2.0 – Your browser matters
Launching the most powerful version of Vivaldi yet. Today's update includes Sync and over 1,500 other improvements since the first version of Vivaldi.

Firefox Monitor will let you know if your data has been stolen

Posted on: Wed, 2018-09-26 - 09:50 By: admin

Firefox Monitor will let you know if your data has been stolen

Firefox Monitor is a new service from Mozilla that you can use to check whether your personal information has been compromised by any of the numerous data breaches that occur every year. For added security you also have the option of registering with the service to allow it to proactively alert you if you’re ever affected by an incident in the future.

The functionality comes via a partnership with Have I Been Pwned, a site that has been offering the service since it launched in 2013. The size of Mozilla and the Firefox install base should greatly broaden its reach, even if the functionality is fundamentally the same.

Of course, being alerted about a data breach will be of limited use unless you’re following good password discipline in the first place. At a minimum that means using a unique password for every online service so that one hack doesn’t compromise your entire online existence.

See https://www.theverge.com/2018/9/25/17899952/firefox-monitor-have-i-been-pwned-password-breach

#firefox


Firefox Monitor will let you know if your data has been stolen
Check whether you’ve been hacked before you find out the hard way.

What is the point of paying R30,000 (US$2,100) for a smartphone?

Posted on: Wed, 2018-09-26 - 09:40 By: admin

What is the point of paying R30,000 (US$2,100) for a smartphone?

A very good question... My Pixel 2 XL cost me just under R20,000 to import with duties and shipping and although it's a wonderful phone I'm not sure I'll do this again. For that price, I could have bought a pretty good average smartphone along with a high-end laptop or even a Macbook Air. Then consider what a good laptop does and that it lasts 5+ years whilst a phone is high risk and is used usually for 2 to 3 years only. I also don't think a 128GB was jusstified fro me as I only use around 20GB to 30GB space.

Someone just remarked to me this week that they remember really high-end phones costing around R8,000 only two to three years back.

Before jumping in and buying a high-end premium phone it is also just worth thinking about what you use the phone for. Even for photographs my Pixel 2 XL right now is more than good enough. If I want to take really high-quality photos then a really good DSLR camera is going to cost way less....

See https://mybroadband.co.za/news/smartphones/277095-what-is-the-point-of-paying-r30000-for-a-smartphone.html


What is the point of paying R30,000 for a smartphone?
Paying R30,000 for a smartphone is a lot of money – make sure you are doing it for the right reasons.

What is the point of paying R30,000 (US%2,100) for a smartphone?

Posted on: Wed, 2018-09-26 - 09:40 By: admin

What is the point of paying R30,000 (US%2,100) for a smartphone?

A very good question... My Pixel 2 XL cost me just under R20,000 to import with duties and shipping and although it's a wonderful phone I'm not sure I'll do this again. For that price, I could have bought a pretty good average smartphone along with a high-end laptop or even a Macbook Air. Then consider what a good laptop does and that it lasts 5+ years whilst a phone is high risk and is used usually for 2 to 3 years only. I also don't think a 128GB was jusstified fro me as I only use around 20GB to 30GB space.

Someone just remarked to me this week that they remember really high-end phones costing around R8,000 only two to three years back.

Before jumping in and buying a high-end premium phone it is also just worth thinking about what you use the phone for. Even for photographs my Pixel 2 XL right now is more than good enough. If I want to take really high-quality photos then a really good DSLR camera is going to cost way less....

See https://mybroadband.co.za/news/smartphones/277095-what-is-the-point-of-paying-r30000-for-a-smartphone.html


What is the point of paying R30,000 for a smartphone?
Paying R30,000 for a smartphone is a lot of money – make sure you are doing it for the right reasons.

Valve reveals just how many PC gamers plug in gamepads — and which kinds

Posted on: Wed, 2018-09-26 - 09:27 By: admin

Valve reveals just how many PC gamers plug in gamepads — and which kinds

Fans of PC video games inevitably point to the options they have for how they play their favourite games, whether with a keyboard and mouse, a large array of flight-sim pedals, or everything in between. But the data coming from leading PC platform Steam points to an interesting trend: millions of PC gamers who gladly stick to the console-like experience of a standard gamepad.

A Tuesday hardware survey from Valve Software, Steam's handler, reveals that "over 30 million" users have connected at least one gamepad to a Steam installation since the company began tracking "Steam Input" as part of its hardware surveys. And with some users connecting multiple pads to their PCs, the total number of connected Steam controllers ratchets up to nearly 60 million.

Personally, if I had to say what I use most (between my steering wheel/pedals, gamepad, Steam Controller, joystick) I mostly use the keyboard/mouse. Certain games like Euro Truck Sim and especially Dirt Racer I will use my steering wheel, and for flight sims I will use a joystick, but tanks and other games I use the keyboard/mouse.

If you are a PC (Windows/macOS/Linux) gamer what type of controller do you use MOST based on hours of play per month? I've lumped all gamepad type controllers under one category so these would include a Steam Controller, PS4/XBox controller, Logitech gamepad, etc. I've excluded mobile and console gaming as they don't have a variety of controllers and are generally optimised for their OS.

See https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2018/09/valve-reveals-just-how-many-pc-gamers-plug-in-gamepads-and-which-kinds/

World of Tanks Blitz #WOTB vs Wolrd of Tanks PC #WOT and they both play on Linux

Posted on: Tue, 2018-09-25 - 14:31 By: admin

World of Tanks Blitz #WOTB vs Wolrd of Tanks PC #WOT and they both play on Linux

A good breakdown of the differences are given at http://forum.wotblitz.eu/index.php?/topic/24557-wotb-vs-wot-pc/. Key though is WOTB is bit easier to play with smaller maps, slightly slower speed, no artillery to knock you out from a distance, and things optimised for mobile players. WOT PC (Windows amd macOS) has rich detail in graphics and gameplay and is a bit harder to score XP. Gameplay is also a bit more detailed and has more to be considered with WOT PC (more attention to crew, consumables, etc are needed). You can play both for free but they are different battles so you really either go the WOT PC or the WOTB routes - gold, vehicles, XP have no relationship between the two versions.

The graphics on WOT PC is really stunning (I mean really stunning!) though and the maps are bigger that you play on, but games can last a bit longer vs WOTB which are average 5 - 7 mins. WOTB's big plus is also being able to include millions of mobile players (there is also an option to limit battles to players using similar controls to yourself ie. mobile or keyboard/mouse).

The interesting perspective for Linux players is that with Steam's new Proton compatibility WOTB will play as-is except the store and news functions are causing crashes. So, in theory, you can advance all the way with playing battles and scoring XP but don't try buy a premium tank as I did on the website as that tank is only for the PC version (I did get a refund tho).

On WOT PC I was surprised to find it worked quite well when I executed it's executable file using CrossOver for Linux (screenshot below shows it running on one of my screens with the second screen showing my Linux info - you can see the horizontal squashing and the graphics are lower resolution too). The only downside I found was that it squished the graphics a bit (which does not happen with the Blitz version). But the game was playing fine otherwise. I had installed the game using Windows 10 though and just ran the executable from the NTFS drive from Linux side. So I did not install it from Linux is side. Standard Wine did not execute but the fact that it ran with CrossOver says some tweaks may get it to go OK. Would be interesting if Steam Games could offer the PC version too.

In summary, though two different games with WOTB having a slightly more arcade approach that balances PC and mobile, whilst WOT PC has richer detail and graphics with a bit more to master. WarGaming has done a good job of bringing all the key elements to Blitz but it is worth knowing that you don't just switch between the two versions of the game.

#WOTB #WOT #worldoftanks


Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Facebook is too Powerful - "A toilet is better because at least ...

Posted on: Tue, 2018-09-25 - 11:53 By: admin

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Facebook is too Powerful - "A toilet is better because at least it takes the shit away"

It is really not about Facebook itself (my opinion) as it could have been any large network where it connects many uninformed people who then get influenced by others who have overt and covert agendas. Whilst the same can be said of many government censorships regimes, there are often trained journalists and newspaper editors to hold accountable too for the accuracy and objectivity of messages being conveyed.

Connecting the world using technology does sound like a worthy cause but where you do not understand the cultures, languages, religions, etc it is a bit like giving pre-schoolers a gun, some poison, broken glass and some flowers and saying "go play". We have a lot of gullible people in the world everywhere who are quick to believe what they want to believe without questioning or checking facts. We also like to believe that our viewpoint is the correct one but many others have a different view of the world (and sometimes they may be correct given the full context).

It's scary think how many people think Facebook is The Internet and that this is where they get their "news" which shapes their beliefs and actions. And we must not exclude First World countries too from this...

We need way more objectivity and fuller context to the "news" we receive. It really does become about picking your sources of news more carefully. So yes that does mean "governments" are also not a good source for news.

Maybe a noble thing to do is for a social network to give feed preference to really reputable sources of news (but in whose opinion would that be?). There is certainly a case to be made for this. Organisations such as ProPublica come to mind (at least based on what they claim to aspire to) as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (guarding against privacy abuses by governments). Maybe also we should separate social networks from any claim to being a "source of news".

One thing we have to accept though is that the melting pot of connecting all people is also causing harm and mistrust. We also cannot ignore that much good has also been achieving through awareness, fundraising (yes and masses of fraud) and volunteerism. We also need to be able to effectively hold people accountable for false, criminal, etc statements made on social media. No doubt it is a complex issue and there is no easy single answer. Technology has been the easy enabler, but how do we ensure it is used for global good. The INternet founders were dealing with an academic environment where people wanted to help each other on the original Internet. A lot of the rights attributed to accessing the Internet then did not take into account people wanting to willingly use it for bad purposes.

Watch the video at https://youtu.be/OjPYmEZxACM

#facebook #journalism #ProPublica


MacOS Mojave is here for Macs dating from 2012 and newer: 8 ways it can update your Mac

Posted on: Tue, 2018-09-25 - 01:24 By: admin

MacOS Mojave is here for Macs dating from 2012 and newer: 8 ways it can update your Mac

Mac users, today's your day. The latest iPhones and Apple Watch may have stolen all the recent Apple headlines. But if you own a Mac, you should be just as jazzed, if not more so, by the arrival of MacOS Mojave.

On Monday, Apple formally released the new operating system to the public – it had been available as beta software.

Mojave is not a major update, but it still brings features and a fresh face to the computer – even machines long in the tooth – that many Mac owners will happily embrace. These include a dark new aesthetic, tools that promise to make it easier to place photos taken on your phone into documents on your computer, even apps that come over from the iPhone.

The new operating system is compatible with MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini and iMac dating as far back as 2012, as well as more recent models like the MacBook and iMac Pro. Check with Apple if you’re unsure whether your computer meets the requirements.

The update is free in the Mac App Store on your computer.

See https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/baig/2018/09/24/how-macos-mojave-can-freshen-up-your-mac-computer/1409142002/

#mojave #macos


Macos Preview Dark Mode Hero

This is my Chinese WZ-120-1G -FT Premium Tank Destroyer in World of Tanks (WOT) Blitz

Posted on: Mon, 2018-09-24 - 20:42 By: admin

This is my Chinese WZ-120-1G -FT Premium Tank Destroyer in World of Tanks (WOT) Blitz

It's quite a monster but you have to remember that you are matched against other tier 8, 9 and 10 tanks with pretty big guns themselves. For a destroyer, this tank is pretty fast with a forward speed of 50 km/h and a fast reverse of 20 km/h. It has a very profile and has a colossal damage rate per minute.

On the downside, it does not have a rotating turret (although the gun can traverse about 20 degrees in 0.5 secs and the whole vehicle can traverse quite quickly at 42 degrees/sec) which means that moving the vehicle after it is nicely hidden can expose it (typically a normal tank rotating its turret won't expose itself). It's lower front, rear and top armour are relatively weak and of course, if a track is immobilised you have a serious problem as it needs its tracks to bring its gun around. It is also relatively slow to reload and aim (about 6 rounds per min and 2.9 secs to aim). To withdraw from an opponent you have to reverse this tank because there is no rotating turret to cover your rear at all, and the rear armour is weaker.

That all said if it hits a tank that opponent tank is often out of action. So the technique of using it's a bit different. It supports other medium and light tanks that run ahead and ideally it needs to stay point towards the enemy with something to hide behind that protects the lower belly in front.

My first few battles with this tank were absolutely amazing. One battle resulted in me killing three enemy tanks and another battle was 4 tanks. It depends on the terrain though as I've been annihilated in built up towns - no turret means real manoeuvring challenges.

But what is most striking for me is the fun I'm having watching teammates continue after I've been knocked out. I've also been watching quite a few Twitch videos of WOT Blitz and I can seriously see how this can be an eSport spectator sport. If I had to choose between watching a rugby/cricket match or a few WOT battles I'd easily watch WOT battles. The excitement, tension, unknown factors, stealth, strategy, bad luck, etc are all there.

For an example have a look at this 11 min video at https://youtu.be/VTwSplXhzV4 where a sole Chinese WZ-120-1G FT is left in play (player npocmo_28pyc's entire team had been knocked out) and he was left facing 12 opponents... he then takes them out one-by-one through sheer cunning and strategy and a good choice of ground to fight from. You'll see he pulls back quickly and relocates after every shot to protect his front armour and he uses that fast reverse to draw out his opponents.

Attached photos show a shot of my tank in its garage, two of the successful post-battle scoreboards, and a T-32 in a beautiful German/Swiss town scene.

#WOT #worldoftanks #gaming

24/09/2018


Subscribe to GadgeteerZA Blog Posts