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Posted on: Sun, 2018-05-27 - 13:02 By: admin

Parker Variant Adjustable Safety Razor - Update after using it for two weeks

Must say I'm really enjoying using this razor still and I have spent time testing a few different blades. The choice of a double-edged blade is key for finding the best one to match your skin and the razor you are using. This razor is quite a bit more aggressive than the Merkur 34C so what I'm looking for is a slightly milder sharpness and a smoother blade.

I found the Shark blades to not be so smooth, and interestingly enough the Personna blades were sharp but just a little lacking in smoothness for me (many recommend them very highly). I did get a good 6 days shaving off one Personna blade which works out a lot cheaper than Feather blades (which are too sharp for me in this razor).

What has worked very well for me so far is The Astra Platinum (Olive Green colour) which were fairly sharp and extremely smooth. It was a perfect shave, but I'm keen top still try some Voskhod blades from Russia and maybe also the Crystal blades and Treet blades just to be sure. The Astra's cost about R16 (just over US$1) for 5 blades which will be about R32 per month for shaving. That is about half the cost of Feather blades more than ten times cheaper than Gillette Fusion cartridge blades.

The beauty of the Parker Variant Adjustable is that you can do the first pass using the setting on 1 (it's mildest setting) and then do a second pass on setting 2 (slightly more aggressive). That second pass just gets nice and close. As some have said about the Parker, it is a pity it does not have a 0 setting for a still milder shave (more like the Merkur 34C gives) but apart from that this razor is really perfect. I really like the way you can adjust the aggressiveness on the go, and its knurled handle gives a good grip even if your hands are wet with shaving soap.

I'll do an update in a month's time when I have tested a few more blades with this razor.

#parkervariant #parkerrazor #wetshaving #shaving


Rakarrack is a richly featured multi-effects processor emulating a guitar effects pedalboard

Posted on: Sat, 2018-05-26 - 20:14 By: admin

Rakarrack is a richly featured multi-effects processor emulating a guitar effects pedalboard

Effects include compressor, expander, noise gate, graphic equalizer, parametric equalizer, exciter, shuffle, convolotron, valve, flanger, dual flange, chorus, musical delay, arpie, echo with reverse playback, musical delay, reverb, digital phaser, analogic phaser, synth filter, varyband, ring, wah-wah, alien-wah, mutromojo, harmonizer, looper and four flexible distortion modules including sub-octave modulation and dirty octave up. Most of the effects engine is built from modules found in the excellent software synthesizer ZynAddSubFX. Presets and user interface are optimized for guitar, but Rakarrack processes signals in stereo while it does not apply internal band-limiting filtering, and thus is well suited to all musical instruments and vocals. Rakarrack is designed for Linux distributions with Jack Audio Connection Kit.

See http://rakarrack.sourceforge.net



rakarrack webpage
rakarrack effects processor homepage
Posted on: Sat, 2018-05-26 - 10:30 By: admin

Tesla’s massive 50,000-Powerwall virtual power plant project gets green light from new South Australian government

Instead of being a large centralized battery system using Tesla’s Powerpacks, the new project is using Tesla’s residential battery system, the Powerwall, to create decentralized energy storage, which basically results in creating a massive virtual power plant.

This is great news for South Australia. It could technically result in almost 100,000 home battery packs deployed in the state over the next few years.

van Holst Pellekaan called it “a mass adoption of home batteries”: “This is a complicated task — I don’t think that anyone has attempted to do what we’re about to do at this scale relative to population and market size.”

See https://electrek.co/2018/05/24/teslas-massive-50000-powerwall-virtual-power-plant-project-gets-greenlight-from-new-sa-gov/

#tesla


Tesla’s massive 50,000-Powerwall virtual power plant project gets greenlight from new SA gov
Earlier this year, Tesla announced that it reached a deal with the South Australian government to install solar arrays and Powerwalls on up to 50,000 homes to create the biggest virtual power plant…
Posted on: Sat, 2018-05-26 - 00:30 By: admin

Screenshots from the new West Somerset Railway Route Add-On for Train Sim World

Some beautiful countryside to travel through here. These are screenshots from the tutorial and first scenario. I just had trouble with the first coupling as I did not realise I had to have a small gap between the loco and the train to make the manual coupling.

One of the last screenshots shows the reflection off the water. When playing the game the reflection actually ripples off the water.

#trainsimworld #csxheavyhaul #westsomerset #railway

25/05/2018


Hackers infect 500,000 consumer routers all over the world with malware - VPNFilter can survive reboots...

Posted on: Thu, 2018-05-24 - 21:02 By: admin

Hackers infect 500,000 consumer routers all over the world with malware - VPNFilter can survive reboots and contains destructive "kill" function

Hackers possibly working for an advanced nation have infected more than 500,000 home and small-office routers around the world with malware that can be used to collect communications, launch attacks on others, and permanently destroy the devices with a single command, researchers at Cisco warned Wednesday.

VPNFilter—as the modular, multi-stage malware has been dubbed—works on consumer-grade routers made by Linksys, MikroTik, Netgear, TP-Link, and on network-attached storage devices from QNAP, Cisco researchers said in an advisory. It’s one of the few pieces of Internet-of-things malware that can survive a reboot. Infections in at least 54 countries have been slowly building since at least 2016, and Cisco researchers have been monitoring them for several months. The attacks drastically ramped up during the past three weeks, including two major assaults on devices located in Ukraine. The spike, combined with the advanced capabilities of the malware, prompted Cisco to release Wednesday’s report before the research is completed.

Wednesday’s report is concerning because routers and NAS devices typically receive no antivirus or firewall protection and are directly connected to the Internet. While the researchers still don’t know precisely how the devices are getting infected, almost all of those targeted have known public exploits or default credentials that make compromise straightforward. Antivirus provider Symantec issued its own advisory Wednesday that identified the targeted devices as:

Linksys E1200
Linksys E2500
Linksys WRVS4400N
Mikrotik RouterOS for Cloud Core Routers: Versions 1016, 1036, and 1072
Netgear DGN2200
Netgear R6400
Netgear R7000
Netgear R8000
Netgear WNR1000
Netgear WNR2000
QNAP TS251
QNAP TS439 Pro
Other QNAP NAS devices running QTS software
TP-Link R600VPN

Both Cisco and Symantec are advising users of any of these devices to do a factory reset, a process that typically involves holding down a button in the back for five to 10 seconds. Unfortunately, these resets wipe all configuration settings stored in the device, so users will have to reenter the settings once the device restarts. At a minimum, Symantec said, users of these devices should reboot their devices. That will stop stages 2 and 3 from running, at least until stage 1 manages to reinstall them.

Users should also change all default passwords, be sure their devices are running the latest firmware, and, whenever possible, disable remote administration.

See https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2018/05/hackers-infect-500000-consumer-routers-all-over-the-world-with-malware/

#VPNFilter #malware


Hackers infect 500,000 consumer routers all over the world with malware
VPNFilter can survive reboots and contains destructive "kill" function.

South Africa working on Climate Change Bill

Posted on: Thu, 2018-05-24 - 20:47 By: admin

South Africa working on Climate Change Bill

Speaking at a press briefing before introducing her department's budget to the National Assembly on Wednesday, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said in addition to finalising the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, the department had developed a draft Climate Change Bill.

She said that South Africa was a signatory to the Paris Agreement to Combat Climate Change was an acknowledgement that this was a problem requiring a global effort.

"South Africa continues to play an active role on the international stage through participation in a number of key multilateral environmental agreements and their associated negotiations," she said.

"In addition to finalising our National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, we have developed a draft Climate Change Bill to provide effective national response for both mitigation and adaptation action."

From the White Paper at https://www.environment.gov.za/sites/default/files/legislations/national_climatechange_response_whitepaper.pdf:
"Furthermore, the planned rail re-capitalisation programme is considered an important component of this Flagship Programme in so far as it will facilitate both passenger modal shifts and the shift of freight from road to rail. Initially led by the Department of Transport, the programme will also include a Government Vehicle Efficiency Programme that will measurably improve the efficiency of the government vehicle fleet by 2020. It will encourage new efficient-vehicle technologies, such as electric vehicles, by setting procurement objectives for acquiring such vehicles.

See https://www.news24.com/Green/News/south-africa-working-on-climate-change-bill-20180516

#climatechange


South Africa working on Climate Change Bill
In addition to finalising the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, the Department of Environmental Affairs says it has developed a draft Climate Change Bill.

Motiv Ring - This Ring Is Nearly the Perfect Minimalist Fitness Tracker

Posted on: Thu, 2018-05-24 - 18:30 By: admin

Motiv Ring - This Ring Is Nearly the Perfect Minimalist Fitness Tracker

The Motiv ring doesn’t nag you. It doesn’t over-analyze. It just tells you when you slept, how your resting heart rate is doing, and with a little help, it can keep track of how much you exercise.

That’s really all the data you can rely on from a fitness tracker, anyway. Tracking heart rate accurately would be nice, but it wouldn’t change our motivation to exercise or our understanding of our own fitness.

The Motiv ring is new, so perhaps more features are on the way. The app is currently iOS only, but there’s a partially functional public beta for Android. Meanwhile, other companies are working on their own rings: Oura ring has similar features but is positioning itself more as high-end jewellery.

See https://vitals.lifehacker.com/this-ring-is-nearly-the-perfect-minimalist-fitness-trac-1826270315


This Ring Is Nearly the Perfect Minimalist Fitness Tracker
I’m not into watches or wristbands, but for the last few weeks I’ve been wearing a fitness tracker on my finger. It knows how long I sleep and detects when I walk or run, and all I’ve gotta do is wear it like jewelry and forget about it.

Solar Energy Storage Problem May be Solved in New Single-System Technology - Austin, Texas

Posted on: Thu, 2018-05-24 - 18:27 By: admin

Solar Energy Storage Problem May be Solved in New Single-System Technology - Austin, Texas

Generating power from the sun isn’t the problem. The technology has been there for decades. Storing that power efficiently, however, has been a challenge. Until now. That’s why the Department of Energy has awarded $3 million to engineering researchers at The University of Texas at Austin to overcome the Achilles’ heel of the solar power story since Day One: how to store its energy.

“Our solution to solar energy storage not only reduces capital costs, but it also reduces the operation cost through its multifunctional capabilities,” Huang said. “These functionalities will ensure the power grids of tomorrow can host a higher percentage of solar energy. By greatly reducing the impact of the intermittence of solar energy on the grid and providing grid-governing support, the M4 Inverter provides the same resilience as any fossil-fuel-powered grid.”

One such additional functionality is the ability to provide fast frequency control, which would prevent a solar-powered grid from experiencing blackouts on days when large cloud cover might obstruct solar farming.

Good to see more investment going into R&D around storage for renewable energy generation.

See https://news.utexas.edu/2018/05/22/single-system-solar-tech-cuts-clean-energy-costs-in-half

#gridstorage #solar


Solar Energy Storage Problem May be Solved in New Single-System Technology
The DOE has awarded $3 million to UT engineers to overcome the Achilles’ heel of the solar power story: efficient energy storage.

The 6 Best Screenshot Tools For Linux

Posted on: Wed, 2018-05-23 - 22:25 By: admin

The 6 Best Screenshot Tools For Linux

A great thing about Linux desktop environments are the screenshot tools. Every desktop, from Gnome to LXDE have one, and it makes taking pictures inside of Linux super easy. Still, for as useful as the included screenshot tools for Linux are in most desktop environments, they tend to be basic, and not have a lot of advanced features. That’s why in this list, they’re going to go over some of the best replacement screenshot tools for Linux!

Although the list is really about desktop capture tools on the browser front both Firefox and Vivaldi also have pretty good capture ability for webpages.

See https://www.addictivetips.com/ubuntu-linux-tips/best-screenshot-tools-for-linux/

#screencapture


The 6 Best Screenshot Tools For Linux
The 6 Best Screenshot Tools For Linux

US Police use of Amazon’s face-recognition service draws privacy warnings

Posted on: Wed, 2018-05-23 - 21:03 By: admin

US Police use of Amazon’s face-recognition service draws privacy warnings

Amazon is actively courting law-enforcement agencies to use a cloud-based facial-recognition service that can identify people in real time, the American Civil Liberties Union reported Tuesday, citing the documents obtained from two US departments.

The service, which Amazon markets under the name Rekognition, can recognize as many as 100 people in a single image and can compare images against databases containing tens of millions of faces. Company executives describe deployment by law enforcement agencies as common use case.

Well, this will make for an interesting debate... Reasons cited are for the "safety of citizens" but one hopes law-abiding citizens had some say, and there is a difference between recognition and tracking so the manner of usage will be interesting to hear about. Recognition of offenders could be done by only storing offenders faces for matching, whilst tracking would mean storing all faces seen and matching over time to a bigger database which could identify who goes where and when no matter if you are wanted or a crime or not. Neither may, in fact, be acceptable to citizens but it is often amazing how police agencies decide things in private (to protect those same citizens of course). George Orwell certainly saw what was coming clearer than anyone else did! So glad my daughter just started reading 1984 as school setwork book.

See https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/05/police-use-of-amazons-face-recognition-service-draws-privacy-warnings/

#surveillance #facerecognition #Rekognition


Police use of Amazon’s face-recognition service draws privacy warnings
Cloud-based service can index millions of faces and recognize 100 people in an image.
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