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BitKey, a Debian based distro for your Bitcoin transactions

Tuesday 22nd of July 2014 12:33:23 PM

Developers at TurnKey Linux have come out with a new Debian based distro for Bitcoin lovers. Named as BitKey, this distro boots from a read-only CD or a USB drive and allows you to check your bitcoin wallet, sign and do transactions over a secure network.

The distro needs two devices to function, one is termed as the Red USB stick where the BitKey image is stored which the user needs to boot from, and other is the Black USB stick which is used for persistent storage. Booting from the Red USB stick gives you the following menu, each mode having separate use cases and apps.

The distro comes with a minimal XFCE desktop and comes with a few apps such as:

  • Electrum Bitcoin client
  • chromium browser version 35
  • bitaddress generator
  • qrcode generator
  • zxcvbn password strength checker
  • Thunrar file manager
  • Network device manager

While you can download the BitKey iso anytime from their site, you need to carry the Black USB stick with you which stores your bitcoin wallet and other user specific configurations.

Users interested in trying this distro can download it from this address.

The post BitKey, a Debian based distro for your Bitcoin transactions appeared first on The Mukt.

Chrome OS to get comple overhaul with ‘Project Athena’

Tuesday 22nd of July 2014 12:16:50 PM

If Google have not had their hands full with the official announcement of the soon-to-be released Android L, as well as Android TV, Auto and Wear it now seems Chrome OS is also on the agenda to receive a full overhaul.

The news of a Chrome OS update probably should not come as too much of a surprise. We recently reported leaked screenshots suggesting the Play Store will receive an update to be more in line with L’s Material Design guidelines. It now seems Chrome OS will also receive the same sort of update and fall more in line with Material Design.

Chrome OS is the operating system which runs on all Chromebook laptops and currently uses the Ash Window Manager. At the moment this is highly unconfirmed but we are receiving very early reports that “Project Athena” is the name given to the newer version of Chrome OS.

Although we currently have very little details on Athena (or even its existence) its timing suggests this is highly possible. With what seems to be a complete overhaul to Google services in general and largely due to the upcoming release of L it is expected that Athena is quite likely to be a reality.

François Beaufort works for Google and unexpectedly released screenshots of Project Athena as a work in progress.

In addition to the images François also alluded to its possible uses and purpose.

Athena is a brand new project the Chromium OS team is experimenting with in order to bring a new kind of user experience

With this in mind it is believed Athena will be a much more user-enabling OS with a heavier focus on touch-sensitivity, clearer imagery and generally a more L based format. Whether this will extend more widely to the Chrome browser on other devices is currently unknown. However it is likely that such an update to the Chrome OS will result in more app-based functionality and capability.

Francois also provided links to the source code allowing users to get a proper taste and feel to how and what the new update might entail.

By simply checking out the chromium source code and compiling the convenient “athena_main” target with ninja -C out/Release athena_main, you’ll be able to follow the Work In Progress

To view the Chromium source code click here.

To read Francois post in full click here.

Although Athena is in its earliest stages and largely unconfirmed (compared to L) this information along with the recent announcements of updates to multiple Google services does suggest that we may be getting blindsided by the smaller fragments of what Google really are planning. If you think more in the broader scheme, all of these smaller fragments viewed together suggest we are going to be presented with a completely new Google experience altogether.

Maybe the biggest Google announcement is still to come!

Either way let us know what you think. Are you a Chromebook owner? Do you want to see a newer more touch-based system?

The post Chrome OS to get comple overhaul with ‘Project Athena’ appeared first on The Mukt.

Google uses Qt to create VoltAir game

Monday 21st of July 2014 03:31:50 PM

Qt is already a dominant technology in may industries such as IVI systems in cars, recently we covered Dropbox’s switch to Qt. Google has also joined the Qtness (cuteness). The company published VoltAir, a single and multi-player game, on Google Play Store. It’s an open source game which is built using Qt.

Google gives the rationale behind using Qt, “QtQuick is one of the many frameworks provided by the Qt Project. It is best described as a 2D scene graph with an accompanying renderer. You can build up a tree of items, each of which represents some aspect of the scene: graphics, physics, input, audio, data storage, etc.”

Google did look around before picking Qt. They admitted that choosing Qt was a daring choice as there was (almost) no game developed in it, so there was nothing to look at and say that would work. Google found it challenging as well as interesting due to many factors mainly due to the future ability to extend it into a rich editor. The support from Digia was also a factor. Some other reasons included the fact that it provided a platform abstraction that allowed us to also develop and test on desktop, reducing iteration time; it included a scene graph and out of the box “serialization” mechanism; it allowed for easily building a fluid UI system that was good for games; it provided an object model with dynamic JavaScript bindings, properties, as well as callback mechanisms for easy scripting and prototyping and last but not the least, it contained a well integrated IDE (QtCreator)Included a flexible LGPL License.

Katherine Barrios of Qt team says, “VoltAir was developed to provide an example of a C++ game designed for both Android and Android TV and the folks at Google also tested it on Nexus 5, Nexus 7, Moto X by Motorola, Android TV, and some Samsung devices.”

The game is about a robot which is stuck on an alien planet. “Going as fast as his single wheel will carry him, he flies over ramps, zips around meteors, and rides geysers in his search for the portal that will take him home,” according to the game description by Google.

You can play the game on your Android devices, just install it from Google Play Store.

The post Google uses Qt to create VoltAir game appeared first on The Mukt.

EFF announces open wireless router firmware to share network

Monday 21st of July 2014 02:13:43 PM

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is an organization fighting against illegal surveillance programs in the courts. It also contributes to a open and secure internet by funding the development of software like HTTPS Everywhere and Privacy Badger.

The latest from EFF is the recent announcement of an experimental open wireless router firmware at the HOPE X (Hackers on Planet Earth) conference in New York City. This firmware is released as a project of EFF’s Open Wireless Movement. The project aims at a ubiquitous open internet where individuals and organizations can offer a portion of their wireless network bandwidth for public use. In addition to making network sharing easier, it will also speed up the internet experience and improve security. The announcement reveals the following design goals:

  • Allow small business and home users to easily enable an open network, so guests and passersby can get an Internet connection if they need one, while keeping a password-locked WPA2 network for themselves and their friends or coworkers.
  • Let you share a bounded portion of your bandwidth on the open network, so guest users cannot slow down your Internet connection or use a large portion of your monthly quota.
  • Provide state-of-the-art network queuing, so most users can expect an improved Internet experience—especially with latency-sensitive applications—compared to what commonly available consumer grade routers are delivering today.
  • Offer a minimalist, secure, and elegant Web user interface to set up and configure the router. Advanced, non-minimalist administrative options are accessible by SSH.
  • Advance the state of the art in consumer Wi-Fi router security and begin turning back the growing tide of attacks against them. Most or all existing router software is full of XSS and CSRF vulnerabilities, and we want to change that.
  • Include a secure software auto-update mechanism. In addition to using HTTPS, firmware signatures and metadata are fetched via Tor to make targeted update attacks very difficult.

Currently the firmware is in a pre-alpha state and meant for hackers. it only works on the Netgear WNDR3800. The future target is to support many more models where user can just download the firmware and flash it on the hardware.

The firmware can be downloaded here. The guide to flash (or install) the firmware is available here. Once again, remember that this is a very early release and tested only on the Netgear WNDR3800 at the time of writing.

The post EFF announces open wireless router firmware to share network appeared first on The Mukt.

Millions of baby blood samples stored In Indiana warehouse without consent

Monday 21st of July 2014 12:28:48 PM

If your kid was born in Indiana after 1991, chances are his or her blood and DNA is one of an estimated 2.25-million specimens currently stored in an undisclosed state warehouse.

According to a report by 13 Investigates, “the Indiana State Department of Health is holding the blood samples of more than 2.25 million Hoosier children – without their parents’ permission.”

What is not an unusual practice is that when a baby is born in Indiana, the state conducts a newborn screening test as with most other states. A small sample of blood, taken from the heel of each newborn baby by a nurse or midwife, is collected on a special card and sent to the state’s Newborn Screening Lab in downtown Indianapolis for detecting health problems (if any).

At the lab, researchers test the sample to look for more than 50 medical disorders (deadly at times) that might otherwise go unnoticed and untreated.

“It’s really to prevent bad outcomes for these children so they can reach their full potential,” Bob Bowman, director of ISDH’s Genomics & Newborn Screening Program, was quoted as saying. “We can prevent severe mental retardation and even death.”

Physicians along with parents are then notified of the results.

But there’s something that ISDH never chose to share with these parents over the past 23 years.

“For decades, ISDH has been keeping the leftover blood samples for possible use in medical research. And the health department admits it never asked parents’ permission to do that,” the report added.

The leftover blood samples are currently stored in 666 bankers boxes in an undisclosed warehouse in Indianapolis, according to state health officials.

“Right now we have samples dating back to 1991, so there are approximately 2.25 to 2.5 million samples currently being held,” said Bowman. “We do have a lot.”

In other words, this large warehouse contains the DNA of native Hoosiers who are toddlers, teenagers and even recent college graduates.

Health officials have been storing all of the leftover blood just in case it is needed for medical research, which, according to Dr. Eric Meslin, director of the IU School of Medicine’s Center for Bioethics, is not good public policy.

The fact that the state health department never obtained the proper consent from parents is surely troubling.
The department changed its notification policy for newborn screening tests last year. Parents are now being asked up front whether they want their baby’s blood to be used for research.

The new policy, however, is applicable only to newborn screenings conducted within the last 1 year. The question still remains what about millions of baby blood samples stored away in boxes in a state warehouse? What would the state do with these samples, possibly unfit for scientific research now, even if it gets proper consent from parents?

“At this particular point in time we don’t even know how many of the older samples could be used for research,” said Bowman.

These blood samples might as well be useless, Bowman added.

The post Millions of baby blood samples stored In Indiana warehouse without consent appeared first on The Mukt.

Top 5 Linux Gaming Emulators

Sunday 20th of July 2014 02:22:41 AM

The history of Linux in gaming is quite poor, but this year so many changes happened in this area that we might be able to review top commercial video games very soon. By commercial I mean those created by most significant gaming companies like Ubisoft or Bethesda, and not indie video games. Even though real gaming in Linux based operating systems got a boost this year, emulators were everywhere to be found, for most known video game consoles.

Strangely enough they were one part of Linux you can compare with other OS s mainly because of their vast quantity. Most emulators started as projects, long time ago, and stopped whether they were incomplete or “ready for action”.

1. FCEUX

FCEUX is a Nintendo Entertaining System emulator still being developed to this day. NES was the one gaming console which played such an important role in gaming history, so that many of its elements are still used in modern video game consoles. For example, NES introduced the world to the standard A, B, Start, Select and cross-like movement, controller. FCEUX is one of the best NES emulators in Linux. You can download the code from here and compile it for all systems, but in Ubuntu, all the latest releases, have it on the package manager under the name “fceux”. Just type “sudo apt-get install fceux”. For OpenSuse 12.2 and other distros you can check this site here and download the package you want.

2. BSNES

Super Nes or SNES emulator I definitely recommend BSNES. Now I know there might be some controversy here because ZSNES was considered to be the best emulator for the SNES console. I have tried them both and they are equally strong, but ZSNES has a bit weirder User Interface than BSNES. They work great on all distros and with all games. You can download the package for ZSNES here and for BSNES here.

3. Project64

Project64 is definitely the best emulator there is for Nintendo 64 in Windows. Most people might be confused by now, but the reason I am writing about Project64 is because it’s the best on Linux too. How? But of course Wine is the solution here. I’ve installed many emulators on my system, such as the not-so-user-friendly Mupen64plus of which the installation process was literally a pain in the ass. Although it ran perfectly it still had many issues with most games. So I installed Project64 through Wine and all the games ran perfectly. The installation didn’t require anything special, except of course, the latest version of Wine installed to your system. Just open the executable for Windows, that you will find on the site of Project64 and simply follow the instructions. After that open the program from your main Wine directory and you’re done.

4. ePSXe

PSX also gets its share on the emulator market with ePSXe, which is by far the best emulator in all platforms. For Linux, there is the version 1.6.0 which has packages for Mandriva and OpenSuse, precompiled, as you can see here. Of course Wine can be used to install the latest 1.8.0. version on any Linux system. Also another notable Playstation emulator is PCSX-Reloaded which has packages for all big distributions ready to download from this site. However after some test I did, there isn’t great game compatibility with the latter. BIOS files are necessary to run the emulator and games, but Google is your friend on this one.

5. PCSX2

PCSX2 is, without a doubt, the best Playstation 2 emulator that ever existed. It’s cross-platform. There is the option to compile the emulator from this site, after installing the dependencies. Mandriva and OpenSuse packages here just as ePSXe, in form of RPM packages. For Ubuntu-based distributions (such as Linux Mint) there is a ppa ready which makes it easier to install and update the emulator through the package manager. Just copy-paste the following line to the terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gregory-hainaut/pcsx2.official.ppa -y && sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install pcsx2 -y

There are of course emulators for many other consoles. In this article you can find the best emulators for the most popular video game consoles. For others, such as Sega Genesis there is the Gens emulator for which you can find Ubuntu packages here, or for Nintendo DS there is DeSmuME for native integration but I personally prefer the NO$GBA emulator through Wine. Also there is the infamous MAME for arcade games which you can find packages here and the SDL port here.

Written by George, re-posted from Muktware.com

The post Top 5 Linux Gaming Emulators appeared first on The Mukt.

CyanogenMod’s Apollo Music Player modified for Android L

Sunday 20th of July 2014 01:48:22 AM

Once again we find ourselves talking about Android L. Over the past month we have received numerous reports on Android L, bringing you Android L features, themes, keyboard, Heads Up and the official L preview.

More recently we advised a full port available for Nexus owners providing an overall L experience. This was also followed by leaked screenshots suggesting the Play Store will be updated to be in more in line with L’s Material Design guidelines. Now we can bring to you what seems to be the first modified app to work solely with Android L.

Apollo is the standard out-of-the-box music player provided with all CyanogenMod (CM) downloads. This is CM’s stock music player and generally seems to be quite popular. So much so one of the developers over at xda as modified Apollo to work with L. The modified music player adopts the Material design look and feel presenting a more cohesive user experience for those lucky enough to already be on L.

HenryMP (Henry Music Player) so-called by the developer is based entirely on CyanogenMod’s Apollo but with the newer Material Design appearance. This is good news for CyanogenMod fans as recently CM officially announced they would not be implementing any L features in the near future. Although CM might not be so quick to jump on the L train it seems developers will make sure CM features will be available. Below is a screenshot of what the interface looks like.

As this is modified for L it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to learn the app does not currently work on KitKat or lower versions of Android. The developer has created a ‘backport’ version of the app for Android JB (Jelly Bean) and newer. Unfortunately if you are on KK or lower it’s either the backported version or stick to the stock CM Apollo app. However, If you are lucky enough to be running L (basically a Nexus owner) than you can download and install HenryMP now. If you do let us know what you think?

You can download either the normal L version or the backported JB (or newer) version by visiting the developer thread. You can also read more about the app by visiting the xda post.

Source: xda-developers

The post CyanogenMod’s Apollo Music Player modified for Android L appeared first on The Mukt.

Want to make your own CyanogenMod theme?

Saturday 19th of July 2014 09:15:22 PM

If you’re familiar with CyanogenMod (CM) or simply part of any of CM’s social network you will be well aware of the CM’s Theme Store. For those of you who don’t know this is simply a CM powered theme generator which allows users to instantly change the theme, fonts, and color-scheme for the UI. Some themes are available for free while most charge a small amount to download and install. These are lightweight items for your device and simply change the aesthetic appearance completely.

Part of CM’s popularity is they provided the framework for the generator as open-source allowing anyone to model their own themes and designs. As a result other ROM’s like OmniROM also use the standard CM theme generator. Due to its open-source nature, themes are rife on social network sites with unknown developer’s generating new themes on almost an hourly basis.

Ever thought of creating your own theme but were unsure of how to go about it? Or simply not too good at coding? Well now is your opportunity. One of the recognised contributors over at xda-developers has very kindly produced an in-depth how-to-guide to creating your own theme.

The guide covers

  • How to download, install and setup Eclipse,
  • The Android SDK
  • Android Developer Tools
  • Import the CyanogenMod theme template
  • Edit the Android Manifest
  • Run the theme
  • Fix any Issues

The guide covers both Windows and Linux users and should be definitely checked out if you want to get started making your own themes. Hey, if your theme is any good you can always start selling it.

For more information you can check out the xda official post or if you want to get straight into the action then head over to the CM Theme development guide to get going.

 

The post Want to make your own CyanogenMod theme? appeared first on The Mukt.

Selfie Toaster: Get your image on toast every morning!

Saturday 19th of July 2014 08:30:56 PM

The ‘Selfie’ phenomenon is here to stay for longer than you ever imagined it would. If just taking a picture of yourself doesn’t satisfy you much, you can now eat an image of your own face burnt into your toast every morning. Burnt Impressions, a Vermont-based company, is making ‘Selfie’ toasters that can burn your image into toast for your morning meal.

If a selfie toaster interests you, all you need to send is a high-res photo of your face to the company, and you can expect to get your very own custom selfie toaster in about a week.

But remember not all photos are worth sending to the company.

“We are good, but remember fine detail is darn near impossible to achieve with heat and toast,” Burnt Impressions says on its website. “If we squint and can’t see your face, we will cancel [the] order and refund your purchase.”

Here’s how these custom toasters are made. Once it gets your digital photograph, the company prepares the image in Photoshop for 15-30 minutes. It then uses a computer-guided metal cutting machine in order to create a plate of your face.

After polishing all the rough edges off the plate, it’s inserted into a toaster where, once heated, it can impart your mug onto a piece of toast.

Just how much do you need to pay to see your face burnt into your toast as part of the breakfast routine?

The toasters cost $75 and sport a full-color water-peel decal of your photo on the front.

The post Selfie Toaster: Get your image on toast every morning! appeared first on The Mukt.

How to install CyanogenMod on unsupported devices

Saturday 19th of July 2014 02:12:28 PM

Last month we discussed how to install CyanogenMod on supported devices using the very easy-to-use CM installer. As promised, in this guide we will advise how to install CM on currently unsupported devices. There are a lot of guides available online for this procedure but they tend to be rather basic. Here we will try to provide a detailed approach to each step and simplify the process as much as possible. This is not an easy process and you really do need to follow the instructions exactly.

This guide is mostly for Samsung devices due to some of the software used. If you are using a different device then you will need to source the appropriate software but the instructions will be the same.

Warning

Installing a new OS system is dangerous. Firstly, installing CM will VOID your warranty. This is unavoidable. If you are under warranty than it is probably best to not install CM at this point and stick to the stock ROM. Secondly, installing a new OS system can cause significant and detrimental system errors. You can brick your phone by doing this procedure. If anything goes wrong when installing it can stop your device working completely. If this happens, most of the time it can be fixed but you need to be aware this can damage your device permanently and detrimentally. Use this guide as an informational-purpose tool. Use this information at your own RISK. Neither we not your manufacturer will accept responsibility for anything that happens to your device.

Additional Warning: The following procedure WILL wipe and factory reset your device. You WILL lose all data, media and files. So BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP

Step 1 – Files needed

Firstly you need to download four files. The first of these files is Odin. This is a tool which will allow you to flash (push) software onto your system and effectively activate the software. For supported devices the CM installer does this for you. However for the unsupported devices this has to be manually done by the user. So firstly download Odin. NOTE: This is mainly for Samsung devices. As already mentioned you will have to source an alternative to Odin (or version) for your specific device.

Once you have downloaded Odin the file will be in zip format. Unzip the file and place all three files in an ‘Odin’ named folder on your desktop. For now there is nothing else to install. Odin works directly from these three files without installing on your computer.

After you have downloaded Odin you now need to download a recovery file. The recovery we are suggesting for CM is ClockworkMod which is commonly used with CM and tends to work well. Download ClockworkMod by clicking here. There are alternatives such as TWRP but for CM we suggest ClockworkMod.

You will also need to download the appropriate CM software. Currently CM11 is the newest OS available although this won’t be available to all unsupported devices and you made need to download a slightly older version first such as 10.2. This will mainly apply to devices which have a letter at the end of their model number. For example GT-i9100“P”

To download the correct CM for your device click here and search for your specific device name and model number. Once you have located the correct device page download the newest CM zip file listed. This will be the file listed at the top.

N.B. When downloading the CM file there are a couple of points to note. CM defines their installs by three groups.

The first is listed as Stable. This literally means this is the most secure and tested version of the operating system. This is the best version of any CM install and will include the least amount of bugs and errors. Stable literally means tried and tested.

The second CM grouping is Snapshot. Similar to Stable the Snapshot installs are also relatively stable and have already gone through a good degree of testing and should include only a minor amount of bugs and issues. However this is not as reliable as the Stable version and should only be used when a Stable version is unavailable.

The last CM grouping is Nightlies. This grouping refers to the most experimental of the CM installs. Nightlies are very raw and early prototypes of the OS and are likely to include significant bugs and issues. These are called Nightlies as they usually are updated on a daily basis and as such are far more dangerous to use than either the Stable or Snapshot version.

Check which version of CM is available for your device and download accordingly.

Lastly for step 1 you will have to download the latest version of Gapps. Due to legal reasons many custom ROM’s are not allowed to include Google Apps (Play Store, Gmail etc) along with the install. Instead you will need to download Gapps separately. Again you will need to make sure you are downloading the correct Gapps file. If you are planning to install a KitKat version of CM than make sure you install a KitKat version of Gapps. If you are installing Jelly Bean than again make sure the Gapps you are downloading is compatible with Jelly Bean. You can follow the link for the Gapps download page and then just find the correct android version.

Step 2 – Load files

By now you should have four files downloaded

Odin
Recovery (ClockworkMod)
CyanogenMod (CM)
Gapps

Odin and Recovery will stay on your computer. For CM and Gapps you will now need to place these two downloads on your device directly. So using your USB cable connect your device to the computer and load the two files to your external SD card. It is VERY important you upload these to the EXTERNAL memory and not the internal memory. You need these to be easily available after the factory wipe so make sure they are on an external drive.

Step 3 – Odin

Now you should have four files, Odin, Recovery, CM and Gapps. The last two (CM & Gapps) should have been loaded on to your device and Odin should be on your computer. For step 3 you should now open the Odin folder (on your computer) and click the exe file. Once opened an Odin screen will be shown.

 

In the image above you will notice under Option both the Auto Reboot and F. Reset Time are both ticked while Re-Partition is not ticked. Make sure this is the case for you. Only two of the three should be ticked. On the right of the screen under Files (Download) you should now click on PDA. Once clicked a drop-down screen will appear and you will need to identify the recovery.tar file we previously downloaded. Once found, click on the file and you will see it appear in the PDA box. You should then see some data loading under Message.

This should conclude with “<OSM> Leave CS..”

At this point you should power down your device completely. Once the power is off wait ten seconds for all residual power to subside. Now boot your device into recovery mode. This will vary slightly by device but the most common method is to hold down the Volume down, Power and Home buttons all at the same time. If this does not work for you than quickly search Google for How to boot into recovery plus your device model for the correct buttons to press. If the boot is successful the device logo will appear. Continue to hold the buttons until the recovery image appears. You will then get a short warning explaining the dangers with custom ROM’s. Press the volume up button to continue.

This screen provides you with two options – the left image is the recovery mode. If you haven’t made a back-up than you should select this option, hit backup, power down again and reboot into recovery again. The second image is for downloading. This is the option we need so select the right image. Once selected the Android logo will appear with Downloading - Do not turn off target underneath. Your device is now ready to communicate with Odin. Using your USB cable connect the device to your computer while in the download mode. Immediately Odin should recognize your device and under ID: COM (on Odin) the first box should change color (usually blue, green or yellow). Once this changes color Odin has recognized your device and you are now ready to flash. Simply hit Start and the process will begin. Once the flashing has finished the colored box under ID: COM will state either OK, PASS or RESET. Do not unplug your device until one of these words appear. Once the process has finished the device will automatically reboot. You have now completed Step 4 and upgraded your recovery and ready to install CM directly. You can now unplug your device.

Step 4 – ClockworkMod

If you have reached Step 4 without issue than by now your device will be powered back up and it will look as though nothing has changed. This is good. All we have done so far is upgrade your recovery to ClockworkMod which is one of the main recoveries used to flash and install new ROM’s. In fact if you decide to try one of the many other ROM’s available than you should be able to now skip the previous steps and install the ROM from this point on. Odin will hardly ever need to be used again unless you encounter problems with your device.

OK, Step 4. You will now need to power down your device again and reboot identical to how we did in Step 3 but this time selecting the left (recovery) image. This is where the change in Step 3 occurred. If you backed up using the previously recovery you will now notice the recovery is completely different.

Using this recovery you will first need to clean the system ready for the new install. Not completing this step can cause major problems and brick your device so please do complete the following steps.

• Navigate down (using volume down button) to wipe data/factory reset and press the power button. Another screen will appear. Scroll down to yes and press the power button.
• Navigate down to wipe cache partition, press power button, scroll down to yes.
• Navigate down to advanced, scroll down to wipe dalvik cache, scroll down to yes. Once this is completed scroll down to Go back.

Now we have a clean system and ready for the new install.

Step 5 – Installation

By now, most of the hard work has been done and we are very nearly there. Only the installs left to do.

While still in recovery mode scroll down to install zip and press the power button. This will bring up a new screen. If you remember we saved the install on the external memory card and so we now need to scroll down to choose zip from /storage/sdcard1 and press the power button.

N.B. ‘sdcard1’ refers to the external storage while ‘sdcard0’ refers to your internal SD card.

The contents of your external SD card should be in view now and you simply need to scroll down to the named CM install file, press the power button, scroll down to yes and press the power button again. The install will now begin. This sometimes can take a long time so be patient and let it complete.

Once the install has finished you will see a short message on the screen install from sdcard complete. Now scroll down to ‘Go back’. Once on the previous screen again scroll down to install zip, down to /storage/sdcard1 and find the Gapps file you saved. Again press the power button, confirm by pressing yes and let the install run.

Once the Gapps has finished and again you received the ‘install from sdcard complete’ scroll down to ‘Go Back’, scroll down to ‘Go back’ again (and again if you need to depending on your device) and you should see at the very top of the screen Reboot device. Click the power button and a reboot will begin.

OK. As long as we have not encountered any problems so far than you should have successfully installed CM on your device. Once the phone reboots there are two crucial stages which need to pass for a successful install. The first is the device logo i.e. Samsung etc. If this appears than stage 1 is safe. If the logo does not show or the screen remains black something has gone wrong. Once the logo appears it should after a couple of seconds disappear again. If the logo appears but does not disappear than you are stuck in a boot loop and again something has gone wrong with the install.

Once the manufacturer logo disappears you should see the new CM boot animation (stage 2). If this appears than all is good so far and CM is loading. Now when booting for the first time this can sometimes take a very long time to load so don’t panic if your screen remains on the boot animation for a while. Eventually the boot animation will finish and you will see the new CM interface. If for any reason the device remains on the boot animation than again something has gone wrong with the install.

Once both animations have come and gone you will be greeted with the new ‘Welcome to CM’ screen and you have successfully installed CM. Enjoy.

If you have an issue at either stage 1 or 2 during boot up than you should immediately power down, reboot into recovery and install the backup you made – remember, I did tell you to backup. This is why. After reinstalling the backup your device will hopefully revert back to its previous state before we installed anything. You can then try again if you wish by repeating the steps or by trying other install versions.

 

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CyanogenMod working on Google Now competitor?

Saturday 19th of July 2014 02:10:59 PM

Over the past 24 hours early reports have emerged suggesting CyanogenMod (CM) are working on a rival application to Google Now. The so-called ‘CM Home’ looks very similar to Now adopting what appears to be an assortment of card-based information panels which read various snippets of information such as local weather, time, things-to-do and so on.

Last night suggestions emerged that this was a direct alternative to Now and would be used in replace Now in future CM releases. However on reddit.com developers who report to have worked on Home are quick to note that this is not a replacement or even a competitor for Now. At least not from CM’s perspective.

I just wanted to clarify that CM Home is not meant to be just like Google Now. The initial UI here is obviously heavily influenced by it, however. It is unlikely that we could (or would want to) compete with the magic of Google’s server-side algorithms and breadth of data about your life. Think of this as a new place for data from many sources, to be expanded later”.

The blog continues to add that this is simply an API being developed openly to assess its use and worth.

Something to look forward to: an API for other developers! We know that alone it would be hard to create an experience that would rival Google Now in any fashion, but we believe in the power of the community”.

In spite of the blatant defense of Home the leaked screenshots we have received do bare a striking resemblance to Google’s Now.

Another CM developer addresses the aesthetic liking issue again on reddit claiming that CM are simply planning for the future by working on API’s which are in line with the upcoming Android L interface.

We’re also planning for the future. L’s lockscreen introduces a new model, that (at face values) negates the worth of Dashclock and its extensions. It is reasonable to assume that providing a home for these extensions to go in L would be of value to users of Dashclock and the Extension devs themselves”.

To read the comments in full head over to the reddit thread by clicking here.

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Android Games with in-app purchase won’t be called free in EU

Friday 18th of July 2014 07:29:19 PM

At the end of last year, the European Commission told Google and Apple to address issues around in-app purchases (IAP) – particularly as they mislead unsupervised kids into unwittingly racking up huge bills for their parents to pay.

Consumer Reports earlier discovered that Google grants a full 30 minutes to make purchases at the App store when no additional authorisation is required (after obviously making one in-app purchase requiring a password).

According to a recent statement released by the Commission, the EU is happy with Google’s response for a series of consumer protection changes that it will put in place by the end of September.

“These include not using the word “free” at all when games contain in-app purchases, developing targeted guidelines for its app developers to prevent direct exhortation to children as defined under EU law and time-framed measures to help monitor apparent breaches of EU consumer laws. It has also adapted its default settings, so that payments are authorised prior to every in-app purchase, unless the consumer actively chooses to modify these settings,” the Commission said.

Meanwhile, the EU has criticised Apple for not providing any timeline for how it will sort out the same complaints by outraged parents.

“Although, regrettably, no concrete and immediate solutions have been made by Apple to date to address the concerns linked in particular to payment authorisation, Apple has proposed to address those concerns. However, no firm commitment and no timing have been provided for the implementation of such possible future changes. CPC authorities will continue to engage with Apple to ensure that it provides specific details of changes required and put its practices into line with the common position,” the Commission added.

Responding to the criticism levied by the Commission, Apple outlined its efforts to prevent IAP abuse in its App Store.

The company said in a statement: “Apple takes great pride in leading the industry in parental controls that are incredibly easy to use and help ensure a great experience for parents and children on the App Store. The parental controls in iOS are strong, intuitive and customizable. And over the last year we made sure any app which enables customers to make in-app purchases is clearly marked. We’ve also created a Kids Section on the App Store with even stronger protections to cover apps designed for children younger than 13.

“These controls go far beyond the features of others in the industry. But we are always working to strengthen the protections we have in place, and we’re adding great new features with iOS 8, such as Ask to Buy, giving parents even more control over what their kids can buy on the App Store.

“Our goal is to continue to provide the best experience for our customers and we will continue to work with the EC member states to respond to their concerns.”

The European Commission, on the other hand, has directed EU nations to decide on their own how to punish developers that are currently facing legal action. It said it would continue to monitor the issue though.

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This is what Linus Torvalds’ office looks like

Friday 18th of July 2014 03:15:19 PM

If you are curious what Linus’ office looks like Linux Foundation took a tour under their video series “30 Linux Kernel Developer Workspaces in 30 Weeks”. He uses a walking desk, which means he has set-up a computer on a treadmill so doesn’t sit on his chair, like most of us all day, and instead keep doing some physical activity.

It’s a myth that you should keep your desk clean in order to be more productive. It’s _not_ clutter actually. I know exactly where something is. When a maid or my wife cleans up my table, while it look tidy, everything is lost. By the time I find it my table resumes the old state. Look at Linus Torvalds’ old desk and you would know what I mean by clutter. I was happy to his ‘old’ and cluttered table as that set-up looks just like mine

Old desk of Linus Torvalds My current desk!

Compratively his walking table which he calls ‘zombia shuffling desk’ is cleaner. He is trying to keep his it clean compared to the old one. Well it may be easier as there is not much space on the walking table, but we will see in six month how clean it stays.

(a) The father of Linux, writing code
(b) The code ‘compiled’ here ‘runs’ the world, literally.
(c) Old desk
(d) Super charged Large Hadron Collider which keeps Linus walking.

Is he going to clean up the old table which he doesn’t use anymore as there is so much garbage in it? Not likely. He doesn’t know what to do with his old desk as it has so much crap on it. He said “he might burned it down one day”, that would be easier.

Most of us hoard old electronics stuff and call it ‘retro’. Pointing at his old stuff Linus said that he would like to call it prized possession but it’s just garbage. He said he is not very emotional when it comes to technology – all old technology is old and broken and I would rather play with new stuff.

This army comes alive at night, like the Night at the Museum movie to protect Linux Fort.

He, as expected, has a 3D printer – MakerBot – which is mostly used by his kids for projects. He showed his scuba gears and the huge army of penguins that protect his house as they come alive at night and march around the Torvalds’ Fort.

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KDE Frameworks 5 official packages available for Arch Linux

Thursday 17th of July 2014 10:41:12 PM

Developer Andrea Scarpino announced the availability of KDE Frameworks 5 packages for Arch Linux. Currently the packages are available in the extra repository of Arch.

Users can install the under-development version of KDE Frameworks 5 side by side with KDE 4 from the Beta 2 stage. To make this possible the packages are installed under /usr instead of /opt/kf5 as it used to be on the Arch User Repository (AUR) previously. Till date the only exception was the kactivities component because both KDE Frameworks and KDE 4 ship a kactivitymanagerd binary. To make them co-install now both the packages from KDE4 and KDE Frameworks install a kactivities virtual package on the same system under the /usr directory. The packages are grouped into two parts: kf5 and kf5-aids (PortingAids).

With this in place Andrea hopes that the Plasma Next packages will follow soon. However they will go in the kde-unstable repository. To make them co-installable their prefix will be /opt/kf5. KWin is already available in kde-unstable.

To install the KDE Frameworks libraries, run:

# pacman -S kf5 kf5-aids

To install Plasma Next components like KWin, run the following:

# pacman -S kwin oxygen $ export KF5=/opt/kf5 $ export QML2_IMPORT_PATH=$KF5/lib/qt/qml:/usr/lib/qt/qml $ export QT_PLUGIN_PATH=$KF5/lib/qt/plugins:/usr/lib/qt/plugins $ export XDG_CONFIG_DIRS=$KF5/etc/xdg:/etc/xdg $ export PATH=$KF5/bin:$PATH $ kwin --replace

Arch is one of the first distributions to make the KDE Frameworks 5 packages available.

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Publishing Snowden-like revelations may attract 10-year jail term in Australia

Thursday 17th of July 2014 06:07:07 PM

Australian journalists could face prosecution and up to 10 years in prison for reporting Snowden-style revelations about special intelligence operations, according to a new bill proposed by Australia’s attorney general George Brandis.

Brandis presented the bill to the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security, in an “outrageous” expansion of spy powers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO).

It is worth mentioning here that the US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden was previously labelled a “traitor” by Brandis.

The proposed bill allows creation of a new offence punishable by a five-year jail term for “any person” who disclosed information about “special intelligence operations”.

The guilty would be liable for 10 years in prison if the disclosure would “endanger the health or safety of any person or prejudice the effective conduct of a special intelligence operation.”

Brandis, however, shot down suggestions on Thursday morning that he was specifically targeting journalists who reported on surveillance leaks.

“No we’re not and I think there has been a little bit of erroneous commentary on that provision,” Brandis told the ABC Radio.

“It’s designed to plug a gap in the existing legislation. Under the existing legislation it’s a criminal offence for an officer of a national security agency to disclose intelligence material to a third party, but it’s not an offence for an officer to copy or wrongfully remove that material.

“In other words, communication with a third party is an element of the current offence but it seems to us that it should be wrong and it should be an offence to illicitly remove intelligence material from an agency. That’s all that’s about.”

But if Australian Lawyers Alliance spokesman Greg Barns is to be believed, a separate provision in the legislation could mean trouble for the Australian press.

Barns said: “I thought the Snowden clause [in the bill] was bad enough but this takes the Snowden clause and makes it a Snowden/Assange/Guardian/New York Times clause.”

“It’s an unprecedented clause which would capture the likes of Wikileaks, the Guardian, the New York Times, and any other media organisation that reports on such material,” he added.

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Dropbox switches to Qt, looks great in Plasma systems

Thursday 17th of July 2014 02:32:41 PM

I use ownCloud as my storage on cloud service, but I also use Dropbox to share files with friends and family. One gripe I have with Dropbox on Plasma systems (as I am a KDE Plasma user) is that its login window looked ugly in it. That’s going to chage as Dropbox client is switching to Qt.

Earlier this week we reported new experiment builds of Dropbox which bring new UI to Linux, Windows and Mac systems. I didn’t try it out back then as I was busy with Plasma 5 review so I could see they were using Qt.

A Dropbox user Nicholas v. pointed it out on the forums:

Very excited about the rewrite for linux. It’s been a long time coming. Hopefully we’ll end up getting some of the glitz and glamour of the other platforms as a result. (Oh – and also very excited that it’s Qt!)

I checked it out on my Plasma system and it really looks far better than earlier.

How to test Qt-based dropbox on your system

1. First of all quit Dropbox either bu right clicking on the dropbox icon on the task-bar or running dropbox stop command in the Konsole
2. Download the experiment buld from this link
3. Extract the zip file (it would be a hidden folder)
4. Cd to the ‘dropbox-lnx’ folder

mukt@the-mukt-online:~ > cd /home/mukt/Downloads/.dropbox-dist/dropbox-lnx.x86_64-2.11.0/

5. Then run this command:

dropbox start

You have the Qt based dropbox running on your system.

If you want to go back to old Dropbox, simple stop dropbox again, delete the downloaded and extracted folder. Then run dropbox from your menu.

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Microsoft kills Nokia’s Android phones

Thursday 17th of July 2014 01:10:23 PM

The reports that Microsoft (actually Nokia) was working on an Android powered phone got mixed responses from the Free Software Community. Some were excited that Microsoft has resorted to Linux and some were upset fearing Microsoft will be more or less a leech building on top of the work done by the community only to create a monopoly.

I never believed that Microsoft will destroy its own operating system and embrace Android. Microsoft is not a new player in the market, it has a strong focus on enterprise segment and by using Android on mobile devices would shatter its convergence dream. It will also break the ecosystem it is building around its own kernel encompassing devices like Xbox, PCs, mobile devices, cars and much more.

It never made any sense to me. Looks like it doesn’t make any sense to Stephen Elop either, the Microsoft executive who was sent to Nokia to prepare the compare for acquisition by the software behemoth.

shifting select future Nokia X designs and products to Windows Phone devices.

Stephen has announced that Microsoft (Nokia) will shift the focus of Nokia X (the devices used for Android) to Windows operating system. He said:

We will be particularly focused on making the market for Windows Phone. In the near term, we plan to drive Windows Phone volume by targeting the more affordable smartphone segments, which are the fastest growing segments of the market, with Lumia. In addition to the portfolio already planned, we plan to deliver additional lower-cost Lumia devices by shifting select future Nokia X designs and products to Windows Phone devices. We expect to make this shift immediately while continuing to sell and support existing Nokia X products.

That brings and end to Microsoft Android, as my friend Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols calls it. Before this news broke, I was enjoying a discussion with fellow FLOSS users around Microsoft’s use of Linux and how it won’t be any different from Apple’s use of Free Software. I had expressed my doubts that Microsoft will ever embrace Linux with the ‘good citizen’ approach getting involved with community building.

Microsoft’s problem is not a bad code-base. Windows is a decent code, their problem is mind share, their problem were Steve Ballmer or Bill Gates who lacked the vision to see where market was going, they failed to create opportunities or new product segments. The company is known for ‘copying‘ the model of others and use its deep pockets to create a competitor.

I never believed Linux to be part of Microsoft’s vision (outside support in enterprise segment where Linux dominates), with the death of MS-Android, my belief is stronger now.

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Learn to build Android apps with Google’s Android Fundamentals

Wednesday 16th of July 2014 11:33:11 PM

Yesterday Google announced the launch of a new training tool Android Fundamentals on the Google developer’s blog. The course is aimed at assisting experienced programmers to switch over to Android by familiarising themselves with the Android SDK and Android Studio. This is unfortunately not for those completely new to programming but instead those who do possess some programming knowledge.

Android Fundamentals is an online training course featuring Google Developer Advocates Reto Meier, Dan Galpin, and Katherine Kuan, working with the team at Udacity that’s advanced and technical enough for experienced developers who are new to Android — maybe even new to mobile — but not new to programming”.

The free course consists of a two-week acceleration course designed to prepare the students for a more intense paid full course after completion. The paid course is in partnership with Udacity and costs $150 per month. This is an 8 week course (if working at the assumed 6 hours per week) and includes all course materials, videos, quizzes, forum access and personalised feedback at no extra cost.

By the end of this course, you’ll build a cloud-connected Android app, and understand the tools, principles, and patterns that underlie all Android development. You’ll understand the challenges associated with developing for the mobile environment (and how to overcome them), learn how to build a great user experience for Android devices, and apply this knowledge to your own projects”.

Prerequisites for the course are:

  • Strong working knowledge of Java or another object-oriented programming language.
  • Download Android Studio
  • Comfortable working with code on Github.
  • (ideally) Access to an Android device – but not required

Although you may not want to take part in the full paid course the two week bridge course should at least be of value. This is free with no obligation and will help those looking to advance their skills in Android development.

If you are interested than you can read more on Android Fundamentals by heading over to the developer blog. If you want to get straight to the course details (both paid and free) then head over to the Udacity page. For a more broader look at Android development visit the Android developer section with details on all upcoming projects including the Android L Preview.

You can also view a quick trailer for Android Fundamentals by clicking here.

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Google release ‘new’ Roboto typeface

Wednesday 16th of July 2014 11:31:59 PM

Google today released an update to the Roboto font announcing the update on their developer blog.

For those of you unfamiliar with Roboto, it is a typeface and part of the sans-serif typeface family. Roboto was original introduced by Google along with the release of Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) operating system and has remained since. Roboto became free to download back in January 2012 from the Android Design website.

In reality the news of the update will not be of significant value to the average user. However one of the main reasons for the update is to fit in line with the many changes we will be seeing with the release of Android L. According to Google this update is to sync more naturally with the Material Design Guidelines set-out by Google.

“Along with the Material Design guidelines we released a new version of the Roboto type family. A lot of things have changed as we tuned the font to work across more screen sizes and conditions, from watches to desktops, televisions to cars. It still keeps much of its character that made it successful for both phones and tablets, but almost every glyph has been tweaked and updated in some way”.

The changes are minor and do require attention to detail to fully appreciate the update although for programmers and designers these changes will probably be seen as a far more natural and smooth looking typeface. The most obvious differences include changes to the ‘R’ and ‘K’ which now have straighter lines towards their bases. The curves on the ‘O’ and ‘C’ have also been rounded more to provide a ‘friendlier’ look and feel. In addition the dots on top of the ‘i’ and ‘j’ are also more rounded than the previous squarer look.

There were also subtle changes to the general rhythm and flow of the letters producing a more spacious overall look. As Google point out this is not immediately obvious by individual letters but will be kinder to look at when viewing text in general.

This isn’t apparent as you look at individual glyphs, but makes for a better texture on the screen“.

If you are interested in knowing more than follow the link to read the Roboto public announcement in full.

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Xiaomi enters India with Mi 3, Redmi 1S and Redmi Note

Wednesday 16th of July 2014 11:30:45 PM

Chinese Smartphone company Xiaomi is launching three devices in the India, fuelling the already hyper competitive budget smartphone market in the country. The first phone to launch is the Mi3 which is priced at Rs. 13,999, followed by Redmi Note at Rs. 9,999 and Redmi 1S at Rs. 6,999.

The Mi 3 features a 5 inch FUll HD display with 441 ppi pixel density. It is powered by a 2.3 GHz quadcore Snapdragon 800 and Adreno 330 GPU along with 2GB of RAM. It runs Android 4.4 (KitkAt) with Xiaomi’s famous MIUI skin on top. There is 16GB internal storage but no expansion slots. A 13 MP sensor camera with dual-LED flash sits at the rear, while there is 2 megapixel camera in the front. The device is backed by a 3050 mAh battery. The specifications of the Xiaomi Mi3 is almost similar to Google’s Nexus 5 which is priced at Rs. 28,999.

The Redmi Note on the other hand has a 5.5 inch 780p IPS display. It is powered by a 1.7 GHz MediaTek octa core CPU and Mali 450 GPU. It has 2GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage expandable via microSD card. There is 13 MP rear camera with 1080p video recording and 5MP front camera with 720p video recording. It runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with MIUI on top. Priced at Rs.9,999 it beats the very popular Moto G on price front and specifications front as well.

The cheapest offering from Xiaomi is the Redmi 1S that is priced at Rs. 6,999 which is equal to what Moto E but carries features similar to the Moto G that has a price tag of Rs. 12,499. The Redmi 1S has a 4.7 inch 720p IPS display. Under the hood there is a Snapdragon quadcore processor clocked at 1.6 GHz and Adreno 305 GPU. There is 1GB of RAM along with 8GB of internal storage and microSD expansion slot. There is 8 megapixel rear camera capable of 1080p video recording and 2 megapixel front camera. It runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with MIUI skin on top. The battery has a capacity of 2000mAh.

All the three Xiaomi smartphones will be sold exclusively through Flipkart. Currently you can register yourself for pre purchase and Mi 3 will go on sale from July 22 while Redmi 1S and Redmi Note will go on sale next month. Eve thgouh Xiaomi’s devices apparently beats the best selling offerings from Motorola : Moto G and Moto E on specifications and price front, it will be interesting to see how well the market responds to the new entrant while Motorola and flipkart celebrate 1 Million Moto customers in India.

Flipkart

Xiaomi India

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