Thursday, June 20, 2013
extra Vidalia, yay), provided you use the workaround
against a known bug (below).
I encourage all ZS members to install it, and to
test it. Yes, it also works with AdBlocker.
Update 2013/6/28: Describe workaround for the Windows d2d1.dll crash.
After almost 6 months of solid development, the Tor Project is proud to announce the first alpha in the 3.0 series of the Tor Browser Bundle!
The 3.0alpha1 bundles are downloadable from the Tor Package Archive.
Here are the major highlights of the 3.0 series:
Usability, usability, usability!
We've attempted to solve several major usability issues in this series, including:
No more Vidalia
The Tor process management is handled by the new Tor Launcher Firefox extension. If you want the Vidalia map and other features, you can point an existing Vidalia binary at control port 9151 after Tor Browser has launched, and it should still work (and even allow you to reconfigure the TBB Tor as a bridge or a relay).
Local homepage with search box
The browser now uses a local about:tor homepage instead of https://check.torproject.org. A local verification against the Tor control port is still performed, to ensure Tor is working, and a link to https://check.torproject.org is provided from the about:tor homepage for manual verification as well.
Guided Extraction for Windows
For Windows users, an NSIS-based extractor now guides you through the TBB extraction and ensures the extracted bundle ends up on your Desktop, or in a known location chosen by you (but make sure you have permissions on that location). Hopefully this will mean no more losing track of the extracted bundle files!
The bundles are all under the 25M gmail attachment size limit, so direct email and gettor attachments are once again possible.
Improved build security and integrity verification
We now use Gitian to build the bundles. The idea behind Gitian is to allow independent people to take our source code and produce exactly identical binaries on their own. We're not quite at the point where you always get a matching build, but the remaining differences are minor, and within a couple more releases we should have it fully reproducible. For now, we are posting all of the builds for comparison, and you can of course build and compare your own.
Of course, being an alpha release (in fact, the first alpha release of this series), we expect these bundles to have some issues. Here's the major user-facing issues that we know about so far:
Crash Issue: Windows Permissions
On Windows, if you install the bundle to anywhere other than the Desktop, permissions issues can cause the bundles to crash at startup.
Crash Issue: Windows Software Conflict(s)
There appears to be an issue with direct2d rendering acceleration that affects some video cards, and has a crash report with a module d2d1.dll. The simplest workaround is to right click on 'Start Tor Browser' and select "Properties->Compatibility->Run in Windows XP Compatibility mode".
Extraction: Delete or rename your old TBB directory first!
These bundles are significantly different than the previous alphas or stable releases. You must not extract this bundle on top of a previous TBB directory, or multiple things will break. If you want to preserve your bookmarks and history, you can do so by copying only the places.sqlite file from your old bundle directory into the new one. The good news is that the elimination of Vidalia should make it much simpler for us to finally deploy an autoupdater, but please bear with us until we can finally complete that important usability work.
Misc: Missing Translations
Some of the translations strings for the Tor Launcher startup got munged by Transifex. In particular, the Farsi and the German builds both have missing button labels and strings.
If you experience any other issues, please let us know and/or file a bug!
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Apocalypse soon? Group building 'largest private shelter on Earth'
Handout Photo: The Vivos Group. Map of a 2-million-plus-square-foot
underground complex shelter planned for Atchison, Kan.
17 hr ago By James Eng of MSN News
The Vivos Group is planning an Empire State Building-sized underground
shelter with room for more than 5,000 people.
When the apocalypse comes, Robert Vicino will be prepared for it — in style.
Vicino is founder of The Vivos Group, a Del Mar, Calif.-based company that
plans to build what it describes as the "largest private shelter on Earth," a
2-million-plus-square-foot underground complex carved out of solid limestone
in Atchison, Kan.
Vicino says the complex — as big as the Empire State Building — will have
room for more than 5,000 people who want to sit out a possible
"This is the be-all, end-all shelter," Vicino told MSN News.
The complex is being planned at a site about 130 feet below ground that was
formerly a military storage facility for the U.S. government. Construction
will begin in late summer, and the site should be fit for at least
rudimentary habitation by November, Vicino said.
The shelter promises all the amenities of a four-star hotel, including a gym,
a bowling alley, a pool, a hair salon and spa, and a 2-acre dog and cat park.
Vivos' website says the fortress will withstand "virtually any predictable
disaster or catastrophic event," including nuclear fallout, biological
agents, chemical war gases and a viral pandemic, as well as manmade disasters
"from an economic meltdown, to total anarchy."
There won't be separate rooms, like other underground shelters Vivos has
built or planned in other parts of the country. Instead, would-be survivors
must bring their own campers or RVs to live in. Shelter space will be sold
for $1,000 per linear foot, so a family living in a 25-foot RV would pony up
$25,000, Vicino said. There will also be monthly HOA dues of $20 per person.
In non-disaster times, owners would be able to use the complex, smack in the
middle of America, as an underground vacation resort.
As to when the end of the world above ground might come, that's anyone's
guess but Vicino said it's just a matter of time.
"You can put your head in the sand and ignore reality, but you won't be
immune from it. Sooner or later, we're going to have to go underground to
protect yourself just as they did in World War I, just as they did in World
War II and just as they did in ancient times," Vicino said. "Anybody that's
skeptical of that, we wish them the best."
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2013 14:59:06 -0700
From: Keith Lofstrom <email@example.com>
Subject: [Server-sky] Recent Changes, O3B
Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
1) If you want to watch what's happening with the server sky wiki,
surf to http://server-sky.com/RecentChanges. I make about 20 changes
a month, small and large. I won't waste your time announcing every
change here, just big stuff. If you jump through the hoops to sign
up for wiki editor privileges, you can also subscribe to pages to
get realtime updates of changes.
2) Significant to our community: O3B, the "Other Three Billion"
satellite network, is scheduled to launch its first four satellites
on June 24. Wish them the best of luck - if their medium bandwidth
satellite internet service doesn't succeed, investors won't bother
with server sky. If they DO succeed, we can use them for Ka-band
backhaul and failover. http://www.o3bnetworks.com/
3) I will be in Maryland for a couple of weeks, presenting at DC-L5
on Sunday June 30. http://www.aroundspace.com/DC-L5.html
PS - this email is also a test, to see if the reply-to address is
correct now. I hope tests are complete before I run out of news!
Keith Lofstrom firstname.lastname@example.org Voice (503)-520-1993
Server-sky mailing list
----- End forwarded message -----
Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820 http://ativel.com http://postbiota.org
AC894EC5: 38A5 5F46 A4FF 59B8 336B 47EE F46E 3489 AC89 4EC5
tt mailing list
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
"World�s Most Powerful Microscope Ready for Research"
Tuesday, June 18, 2013; (R&D) -- The world�s most powerful microscope, which resides in a specially constructed room at the University of Victoria, has now been fully assembled and tested, and has a lineup of scientists and businesses eager to use it.
The seven-ton, 4.5-m-tall Scanning Transmission Electron Holography Microscope (STEHM), the first such microscope of its type in the world, came to the university in parts last year. A team from Hitachi, which constructed the ultrahigh-resolution, ultra-stable instrument, spent one year painstakingly assembling the STEHM in a carefully controlled laboratory in the basement of the Bob Wright Center.
The wait was worth it, says Rodney Herring, a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of UVic�s Advanced Microscopy Facility. With assembly complete, Herring and his team were able to finally test the microscope recently. They say the results are the start of a new era in scientific research.
�The STEHM will be used by local, regional, national and international scientists and engineers for a plethora of research projects relevant to the advancement of mankind,� says Herring. �This enables us to see the unseen world.� Herring viewed gold atoms through the microscope at a resolution of 35 picometers. This resolution is much better than the previous best image with 49-picometer resolution taken at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, and is about 20 million times human sight.
The STEHM allows researchers to see the atoms in a manner never before possible. It has full analytical capabilities that can determine the types and number or elements present and high-resolution cameras for collecting data. It will be used by researchers of many science and engineering disciplines for projects requiring knowledge of small atomic scale structures (nanoscience) and nanotechnology. Vincenzo Grillo from the Istituto Nanoscienze Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche in Modena will be the first visiting researcher later this month.
Local scientists and businesses are also eager to use it. Ned Djilali, a UVic Prof. of Mechanical Engineering, is working with the National Research Council, Ballard Power Systems in Vancouver and Mercedes-Benz on fuel-cell research. The STEHM �opens up entirely new possibilities in fuel cell technology," says Djilali.
Redlen Technologies, a local company that manufactures high-resolution semiconductor radiation detectors that are used for such things as nuclear cardiology, CT-scanning, baggage-scanning, and dirty-bomb detection, has been waiting for the STEHM to open for the company's R&D.
The STEHM microscope is supported by $9.2 million in funding from the government of Canada through the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the BC Knowledge Development Fund and UVic, as well as significant in-kind support from Hitachi.
Source: Univ. of Victoria
Los Angeles Gerontology Research Group
State of the Art
It's a Tablet. No, It's a PC. Surface Pro Is Both.
By DAVID POGUE
For decades, Microsoft has subsisted on the milk of its two cash
cows: Windows and Office. The company's occasional ventures into
hardware generally haven't ended well: *cough* Zune, Kin Phone, Spot
But the new Surface Pro tablet, which goes on sale Saturday, seemed
to have more going for it than any Microsoft hardware since the
Everybody knows what a tablet is, right? It's a black touch-screen
slab, like an iPad or an Android tablet. It doesn't run real Windows
or Mac software -- it runs much simpler apps. It's not a real
But with the Surface Pro ($900 for the 64-gigabyte model, $1,000 for
a 128-gig machine), Microsoft asks: Why not?
The Surface Pro looks like a tablet. It can work like a tablet. You
can hold it in one hand and draw on it with the other. It even comes
with a plastic stylus that works beautifully.
But inside, the Pro is a full-blown Windows PC, with the same Intel
chip that powers many high-end laptops, and even two fans to keep it
cool (they're silent). As a result, the Pro can run any of the four
million Windows programs, like iTunes, Photoshop, Quicken, and, of
course, Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
The Surface Pro is beautiful. It's clad in matte-black metal,
beveled at the edges like a Stealth helicopter. Its connectors
immediately suggest its post-iPad capabilities, like a memory-card
slot for expanded storage. The screen is bright and beautiful, with
1080p high-definition resolution (1,080 by 1,820) -- but when you
connect the tablet to a TV or desktop monitor, it can send out an
even bigger, sharper picture (2,550 by 1,440). There's one USB 3.0
jack in the tablet, and a second ingeniously built into the power
cord, so you can charge your phone as you work. Or you can connect
anything you'd connect to a PC: external drives, flash drives,
keyboard, mouse, speakers, cameras and so on.
Are you getting it? This is a PC, not an iPad.
As though to hammer home that point, Microsoft has endowed the
Surface Pro with two unusual extras that complete the transformation
from tablet to PC in about two seconds.
First, this tablet has a kickstand. It's a thin metal flap that
disappears completely when closed, but holds the tablet at a nice
angle when you're working or watching a movie.
Second, you can buy Microsoft's now-famous keyboard cover. There are
two models, actually. One is about as thick as a shirt cardboard.
You can type on it -- slowly -- but you're tapping drawings of keys,
not actual keys. It's called the Touch Cover ($100 with Surface
The other keyboard, the Type Cover ($130) is thicker -- a
quarter-inch -- but its keys really travel, and it has a trackpad.
You can really type on this thing.
Either keyboard attaches to the tablet with a powerful magnetic
click. For tablet use, you can flip either keyboard around to the
back; it disables itself so you don't type gibberish by accident.
And if you really want to go whole hog with the insta-PC idea, you
should also spring for the matching Wedge Touch mouse. It's a tiny
$70 cordless wedge, not much bigger than the AA battery that powers
it, with supercrisp buttons and a touch surface on top for
Now, when I wrote a first-look post on my blog last month , I was
surprised by the reader reactions. Over and over, they posted the
"For that money, I could buy a very nice lightweight laptop with a
dedicated keyboard and much more storage. Why should I buy Surface
Pro when I can have more for less?"
Why? Because the Surface Pro does things most laptops can't do. Like
it weighs two pounds, with touch screen. Or work in portrait
orientation, like a clipboard. Or remain comfortable in one hand as
you make medical rounds, take inventory or sketch a portrait. Or
stay in a bag through airport security (the TSA says tablets are
O.K. to stay in).
You also hear: "But haven't there been full-blown PC tablets
Yes, there are a couple. But without the kickstand and keyboard
cover, they can't change instantly into a desktop computer.
So it's true: for this much money, you could buy a very nice laptop.
You could also buy a five-day cruise, a Gucci handbag or 250 gallons
of milk. They just happen to be different beasts.
All right then: the Surface Pro is fast, flexible and astonishingly
compact for what it does; that much is unassailable. But in
practice, there are some disappointments and confusions.
CONFUSION 1 The Surface Pro runs Windows 8, which is two operating
systems in one. You get a tablet operating system, whose Home
(Start) screen is filled with colorful tiles that represent apps and
real-time information. (Since Microsoft refuses to give this
environment a name, let's go with TileWorld.)
TileWorld has been jarringly stapled to the regular Windows desktop
underneath it. You wind up with two Web browsers, two control
panels, two Mail programs, two completely different looks.
That weird duality makes zero sense on regular desktop computers,
but it's somewhat more reasonable on the Surface Pro. This machine
has two modes -- tablet and laptop -- so its two operating systems
each serve a purpose. But you still have a lot to learn.
CONFUSION 2 There are two Surface tablets. One came out a few months
ago. It's called the Surface (not Pro), it costs $500, it weighs 1.5
pounds and it's 0.4 inches thick. It runs only TileWorld apps --
full-screen, generally simple apps, not real Windows software --
which is not very compelling. If you're going to buy a tablet that
doesn't run real software, why not just get an iPad and enjoy its
library of 300,000 apps?
The Surface Pro is thicker and heavier (just over half an inch
thick, and 2 pounds). But -- glory be -- it runs both TileWorld apps
and all those traditional Windows programs, which makes it
Unfortunately, the confusion isn't the only dent in this Surface.
The speakers aren't especially strong. The screen and keyboard are
both slightly smaller than what you'd get on a real laptop. The
magnet on the power cord is stronger than on the non-Pro Surface,
but attaching that cursed cord is still a flummoxing operation.
You should also realize that of the base model's 64 gigabytes of
storage, only 23 are available for your use. A full 65 percent of
your storage is eaten up by Windows itself. (On the 128-gig Surface
Pro model, only 83 gigabytes are free.) Ouch.
The real heartbreaker, though, is the battery. Microsoft says the
Pro will get about half the battery life of the non-Pro Surface,
which would mean about 4.5 hours. I say, you'll get 4.5 if you're
lucky; I barely got 3.5 hours from a charge.
Guess that's why there aren't many other two-pound, half-inch-thick
laptops with Intel i5 processors.
So in the end, the Surface Pro isn't for everyone, it isn't all it
seemed at first, and it isn't all it could be.
Even so, there's a lot to admire in Microsoft's accomplishment. The
Surface Pro is an important idea, almost a new category, and it will
be the right machine for a lot of people. It strikes a spot on the
size/weight/speed/software spectrum that no machine has ever struck.
You can use this thing on a restaurant table without looking
obnoxious (much). You can hold it in one hand to read a Kindle book
while you're standing in line.
And wow, is it happy on an airplane tray table. Lean back all you
want, pal. I'm getting work done.
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Professional on it? Does Word come for free? Will Outlook come with it?
Should I buy the case?
Microsoft Unveils the Surface, Its First Tablet
Sleek Tablet, but Clumsy Software
By DAVID POGUE
How would you like to move into a stunning mansion on a bluff
overlooking the sea--in Somalia? Or would you like the chance to
own a new Ferrari--that has to be refueled every three miles?
Would you take a job that pays $1 million a year--cutting football
fields with toenail clippers?
That's the sort of choice Microsoft is asking you to make with the
spectacularly designed, wildly controversial Surface tablet.
Now, for the very first tablet it has ever manufactured (in fact,
its very first computer), Microsoft could have just made another
iPad ripoff. But it aimed much higher. It wanted to build a tablet
that's just as good at creating work as it is at organizing it.
On the hardware front, Microsoft has succeeded brilliantly. Read the
specs and try not to drool on your keyboard.
The Surface shares some measurements with the full-size iPad (1.5
pounds, 0.4 inches thick). But at 10.8 by 6.7 inches, it's a wider,
thinner rectangle, a better fit for movie playback. It has stereo
speakers instead of mono. Both front and back video cameras are 720p
It has ports and jacks that iPad owners can only dream about: a
memory-card slot to expand the storage, a video output jack and a
USB 2.0 jack. You can connect almost any USB device: keyboard,
mouse, flash drive, speakers, hard drive and so on.
Each Surface model has double the storage of the same-price iPad.
For example, the $500 Surface offers 32 gigabytes; the 64-gig
Surface is $600.
There are some disappointments on the spec sheet. The battery life
is advertised as eight to 10 hours, less than the iPad. There's no
cellular version; it's Wi-Fi only. The screen is very sharp (1,366
by 768 pixels), but it doesn't approach the iPad's Retina screen
clarity (2,048 by 1,536 pixels).
And you can charge the Surface only from its wall adapter--not
from a computer's USB jack. Microsoft's reasoning is that you won't
have a computer to charge from, since your days of carrying both a
tablet and a laptop are over. Besides, a wall outlet recharges far
faster than USB can.
The front is all touch screen. The edges of the black magnesium body
are angled and crisp, like a prop from a Batman movie.
Then there's the kickstand. The lower half of the back is a hinged
panel, held shut magnetically until you pop it out with a
fingernail. It snaps to a 22-degree angle, ready to prop the tablet
A lesser kickstand would add weight, bulk or ugliness. But this one
is razor-thin and disappears completely when you're not using it.
You do use it, though--especially when you flip open the optional
Yes, keyboard. You know Apple's magnetically hinged iPad cover?
Microsoft's Touch Cover is the same idea--same magnet hinge--
except that on the inside, there are key shapes, and even a
trackpad, formed from slightly raised, fuzzy material. Flip the
cover open, flip out the kickstand and boom: you have what amounts
to a 1.5-pound PC that sets up anywhere.
This is nothing like those Bluetooth keyboard cases for the iPad.
First, the Touch Cover is much, much thinner, 0.13 inches, cardboard
thin. Second, it's not Bluetooth; there's no setup and no battery
hit. The magnet clicks, and keyboard is ready for typing. Third,
when you want just a tablet, the keyboard flips around against the
back. The Surface automatically disables its keys and displays the
on-screen keyboard when it's time to type.
You can buy this cover, in a choice of colors, with the Surface for
$100, or later for $120.
It's an incredibly slick idea, but the keys don't move. You're
pounding a flat surface. If you type too fast, the keyboard skips
letters. ("If you type 80 words a minute on a keyboard and 20-30 on
glass, you should be in the 50s on the Touch Cover," says a
Fortunately, Microsoft also offers the Type Cover ($130), with real
keys that really travel. At 0.24 inches thick, it's not as
unnoticeable as the Touch Cover, but Microsoft says it's the
thinnest moving-keys keyboard on earth, and it types nicely.
So that's the amazing, amazing hardware. Now the heartbreak:
This computer runs Windows RT, a variation of Windows 8, which
Microsoft hopes will run on all PCs from now on. RT is wildly
different from the old Windows. You'll be thrilled or appalled,
depending on your fondness for change.
In this Windows, the Start screen is a patchwork of colorful,
interactive tiles. You tap one to open an app, swipe down on one to
"right click" it, swipe across to reveal more pages of them. Each
tile is also a tiny dashboard, showing your next appointment, latest
Facebook post, today's weather and so on. It's fast, fluid and fun
Swiping in from the edges of the screen summons useful hidden
panels. Swipe in from the top or bottom to reveal your app's menus;
from the left to switch apps; from the right for important controls
like Share and Settings.
Unfortunately, Windows RT is not the full Windows. The Surface comes
with preview 2013 versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint--
workable, but sometimes sluggish.
Otherwise, though, Windows RT can't run any of the four million
regular Windows programs. Or the 275,000 iPad apps. Or the 17
Android tablet apps. (That's a joke! There are actually 19 Android
Instead, it requires all new apps. They're available exclusively
from the online Windows App Store, and there aren't many to choose
from; for example, there's no Facebook, Spotify, Angry Birds,
Instagram, Draw Something or New York Times app. The total in the
United States is about 3,500 apps so far; many are bare-bones or
In some ways, the far more intriguing prospect is the Surface Pro
tablet, which Microsoft says will be available in 90 days. It has a
real Intel chip inside, and can run real Windows programs. That's
right: Photoshop, iTunes, Quicken and classic PC games on your
The Pro will be heavier (two pounds), thicker (half an inch) and
much more expensive (around $1,000). For those sacrifices, of
course, you could buy an ultrathin laptop--but the Surface's
keyboard cover and touch screen make it far more flexible.
But both Surface tablets, and indeed Windows 8 itself, suffer from
an insanely confusing split personality. Beneath the colorful,
edge-to-edge world of RT apps, the menus, icons, taskbar and
overlapping windows of the traditional Windows desktop are still
there. On the Surface, that old desktop pops bafflingly and
unnecessarily into view whenever you use the Office programs.
(My complete review of Windows 8 will appear in The New York Times
That's not all that's wrong with Windows RT, either. There's no
speech recognition, let alone Siri; no app folders; no automated
guidance in Maps. The Control Panel offers features like typing
suggestions and autocorrect, but I couldn't get them to work
anywhere. Sometimes the on-screen keyboard doesn't pop up when it's
Little inconsistencies and bafflements are everywhere. Such as the
way Word constantly informs me that "there is insufficient memory or
disk space." (Well, gee, Microsoft--whose fault is that?)
Look, here's the thing. You'd have to be fairly coldblooded to keep
your pulse down the first time you see the Surface: its beauty, its
potential, its instant transformation from tablet to PC. How
incredible that this bold, envelope-pushing design came from
Microsoft, a company that for years produced only feeble imitations
of other companies' fresh ideas.
And how ironic that what lets the Surface down is supposedly
Microsoft's specialty: software.
In time, maybe the Windows RT apps will come. Maybe the snags will
get fixed. Maybe people will solve the superimposed puzzle of
Windows RT and Windows 8. Until then, the Surface is a brilliantly
conceived machine whose hardware will take your breath away--but
whose software will take away your patience.
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"Anthropocene Astronomy: Thwarting Dangerous Asteroids Begins with Finding Them," Ed Lu, Marines' Memorial Theater, Union Square, San Francisco, 7pm, TONIGHT, Tuesday June 18. The show starts promptly at 7:30pm.
To be sure of a seat:
• Long Now Members can use the discount code on the Lu Seminar page to reserve 2 free seats.
• You can purchase tickets for $15 each.
• Tune into the live audio stream for Long Now Members at 7:30 PST - become a member for just $8 a month.
Share this talk: Ed Lu, "Anthropocene Astronomy: Thwarting Dangerous Asteroids Begins with Finding Them" Long Now talk on 6/18 http://goo.gl/DCJ6D
--Stewart Brand (email@example.com)