Probably everybody knows public displays which are composed of segmented characters.
On https://aresluna.org/segmented-type/ you find an emulator for that which displays different variations from 8 to 93 segments per character. You can type any text on your own and select different display variations with the displayed text.
Does anyone still remember the time when the first pinball machines started using 14 segment displays which allowed to show not only the current scores but also any kind of messages?
Many years ago I already had look at OwnCloud, which was first released in 2010 and claimed to offer an alternative to commercial services like DropBox or Google. The idea was good, only the implementation and the security was lacking at the beginning, which had kept me back from permanent use.
For exchanging files I later discovered Seafile as an alternative. For addresses and appointments I used Baïkal to synchronize the data between my Android devices and different computers with CalDAV and CardDAV. Added to this is Roundcube as a webmail client with an extension for using the Baïkal address book via CardDAV.
Although this constellation basically worked, there were some drawbacks: a browser-based calendar does not exist at all and Baïkal has no longer being actively developed for some time – the latest version is from August 2016 (see release page at Github).
In September 2017 a security hole concerning Bluetooth was discovered in Android and published under the name “BlueBorne”. Unfortunately Sony decided not to provide any updates for the Xperia Z3 Compact anymore, as the device was already too old after nearly 3 years on the market (also see my other post about this).
Recently someone informed me via Github about a copy of Periodical on Google Play, which was published as “Period Tracker” – however without the modified source code and without mentioning the original source, which is a clear violation of the GPL.
After a longer break I finally extended “Periodical” by the functions which already have been planned for a while:
- single days can be added to a period or removed from a period individually.
- days of the period can be marked with an invididual intensity.
- the calendar shows the current day of the cycle.
- you can add notes and symptoms to every day in the calendar.
The new version is available as download or at Google Play. F-Droid will follow soon.
If you are using wireless mice and keyboards you should be aware of the risks. Also see this article at Computerworld.
At least Logitech provides a firmware update which fixes the problems:
Announcement at Logitech concerning “MouseJack”
The program also checks if there is an update needed at all. So I found out that even the Unifying Receiver of a new keyboard (K270), bought in January 2018, was still shipped with an outdated firmware.
Only when the update tools displays a message that all found devices are up to date, there is no risk.
For a long time there had been an SVN archive of Thing at atariforge.org. Unfortunately this website is not online any longer. But I’m happy to announce that the commit history of the SVN archive could be rescued and the sources are now available at Github: https://github.com/arnowelzel/thing
Thanks to Miro Kropáček for his support in preserving the commit history from the old SVN repository.
Recently details of two security problems got published which allow to bypass protection mechanisms of CPUs to get access to sensitive data – known as “Meltdown” and “Spectre”.
More about this at https://meltdownattack.com.
Sometimes I need to check the function and picture quality of displays. Usually this is done by using some kind of test software – but you can not always install or run software, for example when Linux is installed but the test software is only available for Windows.
In the latest version I also fixed some problems for full screen mode, so every modern browser should be usable for the test.
In August 2017 I had the opportunity to meet Prof. Jim Austin and visit his “computer sheds”. Jim Austin is a professor of computer science and has a very extensive, private collection of computers that he has collected in his warehouses over many years.
The collection is not (yet) a regular exhibition, but if you register in advance, you can get a private tour for a little donation. Also see http://www.computermuseum.org.uk. Below is a loose collection of pictures I took during my visit.
My special thanks go to Jim Austin and Trevor Howard-Smith for the friendly guidance and to the many people helping with cataloging and preparing the collection!