Passed my Class A Amateur Radio Exam and now have Callsign ZS1OSS

Date Published: Sat, 25 May 2019 15:14:16 +0200

Finally after 4 months of weekly evening classes where we delved deep into technical electronics and RF theory including how RF filters work, radio interference, antenna performance, safety, RF propagation, amplifiers, legal regulations and band plans I wrote the exam this last Saturday and the results came out today as a pass and my callsign was issued. The actual certificate from ICASA may take a bit longer as their printing is not immediate. This certificate is needed to register on digital services such as Echolink and DMR services.

Something we do in South Africa which is not done everywhere is the need to obtain an HF assessment certificate. So we had to demonstrate setting up a radio and antenna, checking SWR and making 5 different on-air contacts on the HF bands (shortwave between 3 Mhz to 30 MHz). The real highlight for me was making contact with a station in the Northen Cape about 800km North of Cape Town just using radio. Next, I suppose I need to aim for bouncing signals off the moon and chatting directly to an astronaut at the International Space Station!

#ZS1OSS #amateurradio #hamradio


Pixel 3A vs. OnePlus 7 Pro: let’s talk about the camera - the camera is often the decider for many people

Date Published: Sat, 25 May 2019 13:52:08 +0200

OnePlus has always offered high-spec devices without the flagship price tag, but now the company is upping both its prices and the quality of its cameras. Google’s Pixel phones, on the other hand, started off expensive and with amazing camera software; the company is now letting that technology trickle down to less expensive models. So which does it better: the souped-up OnePlus 7 Pro or the pared-down Pixel 3A?

The Verge does an interesting review comparing how the two careers work and the quality that each produces at…

#cameras #pixel3a #oneplus7pro

How to back up the Linux bootloader to USB for emergencies

Date Published: Sat, 25 May 2019 13:22:54 +0200

The bootloader that most Linux operating systems go with is known as Grub. It’s a simple tool that can be configured to boot up your Linux distribution, as well as other operating systems all from a menu when your PC starts up.

Grub is a reliable tool compared to other alternative Linux bootloaders, and for this reason, it has remained a favorite in the community. That said, it’s not perfect. For as reliable as it is, errors can happen, and Grub can break.

The best way to prepare for when your Grub bootloader takes a turn for the worst is to back up the Linux bootloader to an external hard drive or USB stick.

See how to do this at…

#linux #grub #MBR

Your internet data is rotting - If MySpace could recently lose 50 million files, where will your memories be in 10 years time?

Date Published: Sun, 19 May 2019 14:48:26 +0200

Your internet data is rotting - If MySpace could recently lose 50 million files, where will your memories be in 10 years time?

Many MySpace users were dismayed to discover earlier this year that the social media platform lost 50 million files uploaded between 2003 and 2015.

The failure of MySpace to care for and preserve its users’ content should serve as a reminder that relying on free third-party services can be risky. MySpace has probably preserved the users’ data; it just lost their content. The data was valuable to MySpace; the users’ content less so.

Massive and desperate efforts are underway to preserve whatever is worth preserving, but even sorting out what is and what is not is itself a formidable undertaking. What will be of value in 10 years – or 50 years? And how to preserve it?

Acid-free paper can last 500 years; stone inscriptions even longer. But magnetic media like hard drives have a much shorter life, lasting only three to five years. They also need to be copied and verified on a very short life cycle to avoid data degradation at observed failure rates between 3% and 8% annually.

Yes, it's a growing problem that we are all just ignoring. I inherited a shoebox of paper photos from my grandfather which I can still look at, but what if he'd stored all the family photos on Flickr and everything above 1,000 was just automatically deleted, or on his MySpace account or that bulletin board service that discontinued in the 1980s? I'm still fearing we will be the "lost generation" and despite us capturing more memories and photos than ever before, I think my grandfather's shoebox may outlast it and have more to show in 100 years time. So imagine if your photos and documents manage to survive the cloud service going out of business, what are you going to open and read them within 30 years time when a company called Microsoft is a dim memory some of us will have. We all thought WordPerfect was here to stay 20 years back and they
disappeared quite quickly when the fall ultimately came. Is MS Office still opening your WordPerfect, WordStar Samna, etc documents off the 5.25" floppy discs you kept them on?

In one minute on the Internet 2,08 million Snapchats are shared, 473,400 Tweets are sent, 49,380 photos are Instagrammed... I don't have the answer either because keeping them at home (even if backup up offsite) does not guarantee they'll be available in 50 or 150 years time. Parts of the Internet are already rotting and collapsing.

See #^Your internet data is rotting


MySpace users were recently shocked to learn that the company lost 50 million user files. It's a harsh lesson in not leaving your intellectual property unprotected on the information superhighway.


How to take a scrolling screenshot on Windows 10 using PicPick

Date Published: Sun, 19 May 2019 14:44:42 +0200

How to take a scrolling screenshot on Windows 10 using PicPick

PicPick is free for individual use and it does the job really well. It has auto scroll which means you only have to start taking a screenshot, and tell the app when to stop. Note it is not open source software and is Windows only - not my favourite choices at all but could be useful.

See #^How to take a scrolling screenshot on Windows 10


How to take a scrolling screenshot on Windows 10

#pickpick #screenshot

Google’s K-2 reading practice app Rivet adds smartphone support and leaves Beta

Date Published: Sun, 19 May 2019 14:39:00 +0200

Google’s K-2 reading practice app Rivet adds smartphone support and leaves Beta

Rivet now works well on most Android devices and offers more than 1,500 free books for kids to practice reading. The UI is child-friendly and exempt from unnecessary buttons or menus. While reading, youngsters can swipe through pages and tap on any word to hear it out loud. They can even get its definition and practice pronunciation very intuitively. Plus, parents can track their nipper's progression through activity email updates and review the studying history in the app's settings.

Rivet is a great way to teach children to read, but also to learn how to use a mobile app without messing with complex menus and lists. As the software is still in beta, we're expecting to see more features and books added when the final version comes out. In the meantime, it remains a very usable and ingenious application that we recommend for your little loved ones.

The software is now available for Android, iOS, and Chrome OS in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Brazil, Nigeria, Philippines, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and can be downloaded from the play store using the link in the article below.

See #^[Update: Leaves beta and adds real-time feedback mode] Google’s K-2 reading practice app Rivet adds smartphone support


We've recently told you about Rivet, a free reading-practice app for kids developed by Area 120, Google's experimental product division. Since the... by Hagop Kavafian in Applications, Downloads, News

#reading #education

Indian State of Kerala Has Saved Over US$400 million by Choosing Linux for its Schools

Date Published: Thu, 16 May 2019 15:53:34 +0200

#^Indian State of Kerala Has Saved Over US$400 million by Choosing Linux for its Schools

Southern Indian state Kerala is known for its beautiful backwaters. Kerala is also known for its education policy. The first 100% literate Indian state has made IT classes mandatory in schools since 2003 and around 2005 they started to adopt free and open source software. It was a long term plan to boot out proprietary software from the education system.

As a result, the state claimed to save around $50 million per year in licensing costs in 2015. Further expanding their open source mission, Kerala is going to put Linux with open source educational software on over 200,000 school computers and ‘claims’ save around $428 million in the process, reported Financial Express.

The preparation is ongoing for country’s largest ICT (information and Communication Technology) training for teachers is in full-swing. Over 150,000 primary teachers will be trained to use educational software running on Linux under this training.

K Anvar Sadath, vice-chairman and executive director of KITE (Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education), disclosed that from the next academic year, more than 200,000 computers in schools will be running Linux. KITE has created their own distribution named IT@School GNU/Linux based on Ubuntu. The latest version of this custom distribution runs on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS version. This custom distribution has several free and open source applications specially customized for state school curriculum.


#Inidia #Linux #schools


High frequency (HF) radio "essential" in an emergency: amateur operators

Date Published: Thu, 16 May 2019 08:42:50 +0200

#^High frequency (HF) radio "essential" in an emergency: amateur operators

If disaster strikes in the US northwest, amateur radio operators like Woody Linton are ready to spring into action.

During disasters, communication lines are the first thing to break down, Linton said — bad news for emergency responders. That’s why a new high-frequency radio station recently installed at the City of Kenora Fire Station One’s emergency operations centre is so vital, Linton said.

Linton is a member of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, a Canadian and American corps of volunteer amateur radio operators who assist in emergency communications during times of disaster.

“When things go amuck, the essential services — police, fire, ambulance, social services — quite often are overwhelmed with what they have to do,” Linton said in the lobby of the City of Kenora Fire and Emergency Operations Centre. “Quite often, regular landlines are overloaded, and our cell service goes down because it can’t take the stress — it’s not designed for a maximum load.”

The new communications station, bought with a $4,100 grant from the Kenora and Lake of the Woods Regional Community Foundation, isn’t dependent on the usual means of communication, only requiring emergency power to operate on.

The idea is to allow unimpeded communication between emergency services agencies. Here is South Africa we have a similar arrangement with Hamnet operating from various Disaster Management Services locations in cooperation with other local agencies. Volunteers are part of scheduled preparation exercises and these radios can communicate locally as well as far as 100's of km and sometimes right around the world with no aid from telephone, cellular or Internet services.


#amateurradio #disaster #hamradio


5 Best Application Launchers for Ubuntu and Linux Mint - You have options...

Date Published: Thu, 16 May 2019 00:03:26 +0200

#^5 Best Application Launchers for Ubuntu and Linux Mint - You have options...

Ubuntu (and Linux Mint) is one of the most used Linux distributions worldwide. It is also the reason why it has the maximum number of available programs for itself. Ubuntu’s default application launcher is decent and good enough for most users. The community also provides exciting alternatives. Some of them may not aim for optimal usability but have features that you didn’t know existed. Here are 5 top picks for best application launchers on Ubuntu.

Remember you can install one or two and test and always still use the normal menus. You don't have to move off what you already have, so try out other options.


#linux #ubuntu #launchers


How to check if your WhatsApp has been hacked

Date Published: Wed, 15 May 2019 09:04:15 +0200

#^How to check if your WhatsApp has been hacked

WhatsApp recently confirmed that a dangerous voice call exploit allowed malicious parties to load NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware onto Android and iOS devices.

The exploit allows hackers to install spyware on a person’s phone through an infected WhatsApp voice call, even if they do not answer the call.

“A buffer overflow vulnerability in WhatsApp VOIP stack allowed remote code execution via specially crafted series of SRTCP packets sent to a target phone number,” Facebook said.

The Pegasus spyware allows hackers to delete calls from logs, access users’ cameras and microphones, and uncover their location and messaging information.

WhatsApp fixed the issue on its servers on 10 May and launched an update on 13 May to secure the vulnerability in its smartphone applications.

The company urged users to upgrade to the latest version of our app and keep their mobile operating system up to date to protect against potential targeted exploits.

See details at…



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