Links

Places on the web that are of most interest to me:

  • PubMed. The premier site for literature searches in biomedical science.
  • Slashdot. Feel the pulse of today's most pressing issues in science, technology, and rights in the digital age.
  • OSNews. Another geeky news site geared towards articles around the web that concern the "future of computing."
  • Pybliographer. Need a bibliography manager in Linux? Look no further, this program is jam packed with features and competes with many current commercial software packages.
  • Using LaTeX for your thesis proposal and dissertation (from http://www.rpi.edu/computing/software/latex/thesis-info.html [Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute]). This is an excellent starting document for those of you wanting to learn more about LaTeX. By all means, spend the time now to understand this wonderful package and it will save you lots of headache and heartache in the future when you need to whip out a scientific paper, review, or book.


The following are links to my family and friends' web pages:
  • Hieu Vu. My brother is a graduating Chemical Engineer. He's has a number of experiences in the field and is looking for a job, can you help him out?
  • Tone's "The World from Mine Eyes". In need of a good chuckle?
  • Jeffrey T. Mason. He's a childhood friend who has always had a passion for radio and music. He DJs in the Chicago listening area for a popular dance (WKIE - 92.7/5) radio station. Check his site out and listen to him live on the Jeffro Show, 7 pm to Midnight CST.
  • Dragonsfolly.com is my cousin's site. It has excellent prose and sci-fi fantasy fan fiction. Check it out for an interesting read.
  • Pham-Tom Designs is a friend's design company. Browse his pages if you need art design for your website.
  • Color Negative is yet another friend's design company. Browse his pages if you need art design for your website.
  • Minh Pham is a close friend who happens to be a real estate broker. His passion is motivational speaking. Please peruse his site if you need a speaker for your next conference or meeting.
  • Oanh Le is in the IT field in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area (soon to be in the New York City area). She has more than a few years of on-the-job experience under her belt. Follow the link if you need a consultant for contract work.
  • Looking for a snazzy pair of sneaks? Swing on by to gotkickz? and order "two per of those er force ones." In fact, do your holiday shopping early, tell them I sent you.


Some recent deals and news

Channel: DealNews - Today's Edition

  • Cedar & Citrus Inline Shower Head Filter for $10 + free shipping. As one of its daily deals, A4C offers the Cedar & Citrus Inline Shower Head Filter for $9.95 with free shipping. That's tied with our mention from two weeks ago as the lowest price we could find by $10. It features a patented KDF-55 filter and a removable filter cartridge, and it retains power for up to one year. Deal ends today.
  • Best Buy Memorial Day Appliances Sale: Up to 40% off + free shipping w/ $399. Best Buy takes up to 40% off a selection of appliances during its Memorial Day Sale. Shipping adds $69.99 on large appliances, although major appliance orders of $399 or more bag free delivery. (In-store pickup is also available on many items, and small appliance orders of $35 or more receive free shipping.) Deal ends June 6.
  • HyperX Gaming Glasses for $70 + free shipping. As one of its daily deals, Best Buy via eBay offers the HyperX Gaming Eyewear for $69.99 with free shipping. That's the lowest price we could find by $25. They feature MR-8 lens material and provide blue light filtering and UV protection. Deal ends today.
  • Dell Small Business Month Sale: Up to 40% off + free shipping. Dell Small Business takes up to 40% off a selection of its desktops, laptops, and workstations. (Select items qualify for additional coupon discounts, listed on the sale page.) Plus, all orders bag free shipping. Deal ends May 30. A couple of best bets:
    • Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Intel Kaby Lake R Core i5 1.6GHz 14" Laptop for $699.99 ($90 off)
    • Dell OptiPlex 3050 Intel Kaby Lake Core i5 3.4GHz Desktop PC for $890.50 via "SAVE35" (pictured, $411 off)
  • Cole Haan Memorial Day Sale: Extra 40% off + free shipping. Cole Haan takes an extra 40% off sale styles during its Memorial Day Sale via coupon code "EXTRA40". Plus, all orders receive free shipping. Combined, that's the best discount we've seen since Black Friday when we saw 50% off paired with free shipping. Deal ends May 31.

    Note: All sales are final.
  • IKEA Fullen Sink Cabinet for $10 + $5 pickup. IKEA offers its IKEA Fullen Sink Cabinet in White for $9.99. Opt for $5 Click & Connect pickup to avoid the $9 shipping charge and net a $5 IKEA Gift Card. (The gift card can be used for a future purchase.) While that's list price, it's a very low price for a sink cabinet and $39 under any other sink cabinet at IKEA. It measures approximately 23.5" x 15.5" x 31" and includes one shelf and legs.
  • Ultimate Survival Technologies 5L Dry Bag for $5 + free shipping. As one of its daily deals, 13 Deals offers the Ultimate Survival Technologies Lightweight 5-Liter Dry Bag for $5.49 with free shipping. That's a buck under last week's mention and the lowest price we could find by $3. It measures 14" x 11" and features a quick-release buckle. Deal ends today.
  • COB LED Toggle Light for $5 + free shipping. As one of its daily deals, THAT Daily Deal offers this COB LED Toggle Light for $4.99 with free shipping. That ties our mention from last July and is the lowest price we could find by $2. It can be mounted via its built-in magnets or Velcro; three AAA batteries are required (included).

    Need more? You can also get three COB LED Toggle Lights for $9.99 with free shipping ($3.33/light).
  • Shark Duo Lift-Away Vacuum w/ Powered Head for $149 + $5 s&h. As one of its daily deals, Meh offers the Shark Duo Clean Lift-Away Vacuum with Powered Head for $149 plus $5 for shipping. That's $46 under our mention from last Black Friday week and the lowest price we could find by $96. Features include a HEPA filter, under-appliance wand, and fingertip controls. Deal ends today.
  • Refurb Lenovo ThinkPad i7 14" Laptop for $479 + free shipping. RefurBees offers via coupon code "X1NEWS" the refurbished Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Ultrabook Carbon Intel Core i7 2.1GHz 14" Laptop for $479 with free shipping. Deal ends May 26. It features:
    • Intel Core i7-4600U 2.1GHz dual-core processor
    • 14" 1600x900 LED-backlit LCD
    • 8GB RAM & 240GB SSD
    • 3-cell battery
    • Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
    Note: A 3-month RefurBees warranty is included.
  • CIT Bank Premier High Yield Savings Account: Up to 1.55% APY. At CIT Bank, apply for a Premier High Yield Savings Account and earn up to 1.55% APY. (A minimum deposit of $100 required to open an account.) The interest rate is variable and may change without notice.
  • Ink e-Sale HP Compatible Color Toner 4-Pack for $56 + free shipping. Global Toner via Amazon offers the Ink e-Sale HP-Compatible Color Toner Cartridge 4-Pack for $83.99. Coupon code "PTMXGPSU" drops the price to $56.27. Plus, free shipping applies. They're compatible with a range of HP color laser printers; see the product page for a full list.
  • Apple iPhones at T-Mobile: Buy 1, get 2nd free + free shipping. At T-Mobile, buy an Apple iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7, or iPhone 7 Plus (iPhone X in Space Gray pictured) and get a second one of equal or lesser value (up to $700) for free via mail-in rebate when you port at least one line and trade in a qualifying device. Plus, free shipping applies. Some exclusions may apply. Deal ends June 7.
  • La-Z-Boy Memorial Day Sale. La-Z-Boy discounts select furniture as part of its Memorial Day Sale. Delivery charges start at $59.95. Deal ends May 28.
  • Distianert 12MP Game and Trail Camera for $59 + free shipping. TMUS via Amazon offers the Distianert 12-Megapixel 1080p Game and Trail Camera for $89.99. Coupon code "DISTIANERT34" cuts that to $59.39. Plus, free shipping applies. It features 1080p recording and 80-foot detection range; a mounting strap is included. Deal ends May 31.
  • Verizon Fios 100/100 and Local TV Double Play for $55/month. At Verizon, you can sign up for the Verizon Fios Just Stream It Bundle for $54.99 per month. (Enrollment in auto pay and paper-free billing is required.) This bundle includes Fios TV Local bundled with Fios 100/100 Mbps Internet and your choice of one premium movie channel for three months. Also, the standard setup charge is waived, a $99 value. Plus, switch to Fios and get out of your contract with up to a $500 credit to help cover your early termination fee.
  • Credit Card Offers from American Express. Looking for a new credit card? Check out our American Express Credit Card page which features several offers available to applicants from a wide range of credit ratings. Some notable cards include the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express, The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express, and the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express.
  • GBH Men's Belted Cargo Shorts for $12 + free shipping. Elitefashion26 via eBay offers the GBH Men's Belted Cargo Shorts in several colors for $11.99 with free shipping. That's the lowest price we could find by $3. They're available in select sizes 30 to 38.
  • Refurb Parrot Swing Mini-Drone for $17 + free shipping. NeweggFlash offers the refurbished Parrot Swing Mini-Drone for $16.99 with free shipping. That's the lowest price we could find by $3. It features a quad mode and plane mode and can achieve speeds up to 19mph. Deal ends May 26.

    Note: No warranty information is provided.
  • Stanley 22-Piece Hex Key Set for $6 + pickup at Walmart. Walmart offers the Stanley 22-Piece Hex Key Set for $6.46. Choose in-store pickup to avoid the $5.99 shipping fee. That's tied with our mention from three weeks ago and the lowest price we could find by $9. It features a range of SAE keys from .05" to 3/8" and metric keys from 1.5mm to 10mm.
Channel: Techbargains.com

Channel: xpBargains.com deals RSS feed

Channel: Slashdot

Channel: OSNews

  • 299 macOS apps are so buggy, Apple fixes them in AppKit. What do Photoshop, Matlab, Panic Transmit, and Eclipse have in common? They are among the 299 apps for which macOS applies compatibility fixes. Here's the full list of bundle IDs, along with the functions that checks for them, and the first caller to those functions. It's also available in CSV format. Note that this is just a list of apps Apple has developed compatibility tweaks to make them run on newer macOS versions. As the list demonstrates, even the best apps often needs some tweaks on newer macOS. In addition, most of these patches are only applied to older versions of apps. Here's how I extracted the list, and some interesting things I found in it. This is absolutely fascinating, and provides some amazing insight into which applications Apple considers crucial to the macOS user experience and platform. We all know Windows performs various tricks to maintain backwards compatibility, but I had no idea Apple went to decent lengths too for the same reasons.
  • Google makes two different versions of Android. We go through this every time a new version comes to Google's own phones while we wait for it to come to the rest. And the outcome is always the same - Pixel phones (and previous Nexus phones) look the way Google wants them to look and the rest of the phones look however the company that made them want them to look. That's because you can't see Android - it's simply software that supports the things you're looking at. It's confusing. And tech bloggers (myself included) don't help ease the confusion very well when we write about the things we see on a software update for the Pixel. It's too difficult to try and break everything down every time we write something, and while we are good at a lot of things, we tend to shy away from "difficult". To compound it all, when we do try to break "Android" down, we usually make it worse. I'm going to try here because I'm feeling courageous and want to face "difficult" head on today. If I don't come back, tell my wife I love her. Android is quite a complicated term, entity, and operating system.
  • Razer Phone XDA display analysis. When contemplating who’d be a major player in the Android smartphone business, the gaming hardware giant Razer probably doesn’t come to mind. While they have yet to establish themselves as a reliable smartphone provider, Razer’s first attempt did not at all seem like it was their first time dabbling into Android, likely because much of their engineering team came from Nextbit. Razer leveraged their status in gaming hardware to appeal to those who game, and those who game hold high refresh rate monitors in high regard. So Razer put one on a smartphone. This article takes a close look at the Razor phone's display, which is rather unique among Android phones for its 120Hz refresh rate (iPhones have 120Hz displays as well).
  • Europe gets more open-access as university stand-offs spread. Bold efforts to push academic publishing towards an open-access model are gaining steam. Negotiators from libraries and university consortia across Europe are sharing tactics on how to broker new kinds of contracts that could see more articles appear outside paywalls. And inspired by the results of a stand-off in Germany, they increasingly declare that if they don’t like what publishers offer, they will refuse to pay for journal access at all. On 16 May, a Swedish consortium became the latest to say that it wouldn't renew its contract, with publishing giant Elsevier. A lot of this research in partially or fully tax-funded, and as such, published articles must be freely available to the public. Good development.
  • Hands-on with the RED Hydrogen One. We just got a look at the upcoming RED Hydrogen One smartphone at an event meant for "RED Pioneers" (read: superfans). It is, without a doubt, one of the most ambitious smartphones in years from a company not named Apple, Google, or Samsung. It's an Android phone with a 5.7-inch display and top-tier phone specs, but that description doesn't do justice to what RED is trying to accomplish here. The company better known for high-end 4K cameras with names like "Weapon" and "Epic-w" isn't entering the smartphone game simply to sell you a better Android phone (though it does have both Verizon and AT&T signed on to support it). No, this phone is meant to be one piece of a modular system of cameras and other media creation equipment - the company claims it will be "the foundation of a future multi-dimensional media system". I doubt this phone will ever have any mass-market success, but that's not really the point anyway. I like that RED is trying something new, something different, and takes it to the extreme with this industrial design. The module system here is different from previous failed attempts at doing so in that it's designed to tie in with RED's popular and expensive camera's and lenses from other big camera brands, instead of trying to appeal to the mass market. This might actually work out.
  • Inside the 76477 Space Invaders sound effect chip. The 76477 Complex Sound Generation chip (1978) provided sound effects for Space Invaders and many other video games. It was also a popular hobbyist chip, easy to experiment with and available at Radio Shack. I reverse-engineered the chip from die photos and found some interesting digital circuitry inside. Perhaps the most interesting is a shift register based white noise generator, useful for drums, gunshots, explosions and other similar sound effects. The chip also uses a digital mixer to combine the chip's different sound generators. An unusual feature of the chip is that it uses Integrated Injection Logic (I2L), a type of digital logic developed in the 1970s with the goal of high-density, high-speed chips.
  • iOS developers form union to pressure Apple. A number of prominent third-party iOS developers have formed a union to put pressure on Apple to change several App Store policies. We believe that people who create great software should be able to make a living doing it. So we created The Developers Union to advocate for sustainability in the App Store. Today, we are asking Apple to publicly commit - by the tenth anniversary of the App Store this July - to allowing free trials for all apps in the App Stores before July 2019. After that, we'll start advocating for a more reasonable revenue cut and other community-driven, developer-friendly changes. I've railed against the long-term sustainability of the application store model for years now, long before it became en vogue in wider developer circles. I absolutely love the idea of independent developers forming a union - even if it's not a literal union - as a means to put pressure on Apple, Google, and other owners of application stores to take better care of developers. At the same time, I fear that they are too late - the vast majority of the App Store's revenue comes from crappy pay-to-win mobile games, not from well-made, lovingly crafted applications. I simply don't think these developers are important enough to a bean-counting bottom-liner like Tim Cook.
  • Google's Duplex will warn that calls are recorded. Since Google revealed a robo-caller that sounds eerily human earlier this month, the company has faced plenty of questions about how it works. Employees got some answers this week. On Thursday, the Alphabet Inc. unit shared more details on how the Duplex robot-calling feature will operate when it's released publicly, according to people familiar with the discussion. Duplex is an extension of the company's voice-based digital assistant that automatically phones local businesses and speaks with workers there to book appointments. At Google’s weekly TGIF staff meeting on Thursday, executives gave employees their first full Duplex demo and told them the bot would identify itself as the Google assistant. It will also inform people on the phone that the line is being recorded in certain jurisdictions, the people said. They asked not to be identified discussing private matters. A Google spokesman declined to comment. This is a good step, and while the technology is awesome, I'm still quite reluctant about whether or not we really need this. Aside from the very legitimate use cases for people with disabilities, to whom this technology could be life-changing, I'm wondering just what regular users get out of it.
  • Pie menus: a 30 year retrospective. Today (May 15, 2018) is the 30 year anniversary of CHI'88 (May 15-19, 1988), where Jack Callahan, Ben Shneiderman, Mark Weiser and I (Don Hopkins) presented our paper "An Empirical Comparison of Pie vs. Linear Menus". We found pie menus to be about 15% faster and with a significantly lower error rate than linear menus! This article will discuss the history of what's happened with pie menus over the last 30 years (and more), present both good and bad examples, including ideas half baked, experiments performed, problems discovered, solutions attempted, alternatives explored, progress made, software freed, products shipped, as well as setbacks and impediments to their widespread adoption. Fantastic read with fantastic examples. Set some time aside for this one - you won't regret it.
  • GDPR hysteria. In another week the GDPR, or the General Data Protection Regulation will become enforceable and it appears that unlike any other law to date this particular one has the interesting side effect of causing mass hysteria in the otherwise rational tech sector. This post is an attempt to calm the nerves of those that feel that the(ir) world is about to come to an end, the important first principle when it comes to dealing with any laws, including this one is Don’t Panic. I’m aiming this post squarely at the owners of SME’s that are active on the world wide web and that feel overwhelmed by this development. A bit of background about myself: I’ve been involved in the M&A scene for about a decade, do technical due diligence for a living (together with a team of 8). This practice and my feeling that the battle for privacy on the web is one worth winning which has led me to study online privacy in some detail puts me in an excellent position to see the impact of this legislation first hand as well as how companies tend to deal with it. The GDRP is not nearly as draconian or complex as people are scared into believing (mostly by people who conveniently also sell GDRP compliance services). Over the past few weeks and months, I've translated countless internal and external corporate documents about the GDPR from companies both big and small, for all kinds of sectors, many of which you know, and none of them are freaking out and none of them find this particularly difficult or complicated. Even a legal simpleton like me understands it just fine, and all I need to do is translate texts about it.
  • The soon-to-be-extinct embedded software engineer. Embedded systems have started to become extremely complex. The big push to connect every device to the internet to create the IoT is causing a demand for embedded software engineers that has not yet been seen in recent history. This big push is causing a vacuum in which companies can't find enough embedded software engineers. Instead of training new engineers, they are starting to rely on application developers, who have experience with Windows applications or mobile devices, to develop their real-time embedded software. The problem, of course, is that these engineers don't understand the low-level hardware, but only high-level application frameworks that do all the work for them. Is this actually true? It's very difficult to gauge this, since most focus when it comes to development is on "sexy" development, such as smartphone applications or websites - there's very little media visibility for lower-level engineering such as embedded developers, kernel engineers, and so on. Since I know how easy it is to fall into the trap of believing that everything was better in the past, I genuinely wonder if this is really actually a problem, or that we just perceive it as such.
  • Bitcoin to use 0.5% of world's electricity by end of 2018. The bitcoin network is run by miners, computers that maintain the shared transaction ledger called the blockchain. A new study estimates that this process consumes at least 2.6GW of power - almost as much electric power as Ireland consumes. This figure could rise to 7.7GW before the end of 2018 - accounting for almost half a percent of the world's electricity consumption. Bitcoin is - quite literally - destroying our environment. It's erasing the meagre progress we've made on reducing our overal energy consumption, for a glorified Tulipmania.
  • Selfish Ledger is an unsettling vision of Google social engineering. Google has built a multibillion-dollar business out of knowing everything about its users. Now, a video produced within Google and obtained by The Verge offers a stunningly ambitious and unsettling look at how some at the company envision using that information in the future. The video was made in late 2016 by Nick Foster, the head of design at X (formerly Google X), and shared internally within Google. It imagines a future of total data collection, where Google helps nudge users into alignment with their goals, custom-prints personalized devices to collect more data, and even guides the behavior of entire populations to solve global problems like poverty and disease. This is exactly as dystopian and deeply creepy as you think it is. My biggest concern is not that this video exists or that companies such as Google are thinking about this - my biggest concern is that a whole generation of people already seem to accept this as the new normal even before it's a reality.
  • Evolving Chrome's security indicators. Previously, HTTP usage was too high to mark all HTTP pages with a strong red warning, but in October 2018 (Chrome 70), we'll start showing the red "not secure" warning when users enter data on HTTP pages. Seemingly small change, but still hugely significant. Right now, HTTPS pages are marked as secure, and HTTP pages are not marked at all. In the future, HTTPS pages will not be marked, while HTTP pages will be marked as insecure.
  • The Xbox Adaptive Controller may change gaming forever. The operative word is "adaptive". XAC's potential truly begins with its back-side strip. There, you'll find a whopping 19 ports, all 3.5mm jacks. No, this isn't a giant middle finger to the headphone-jack haters at Apple and Google. Rather, these ports see Microsoft connecting with, and loudly celebrating, what has long been an open secret in the world of gaming peripherals: the community of add-on devices designed for limited-mobility gamers. Oversized buttons, finger switches, blowing tubes, foot pedals, and other specialized inputs have long been built for gamers who can't hold onto or efficiently use average controllers (gamepads, keyboards, mice). Recent speeches from company heads like CEO Satya Nadella and Xbox chief Phil Spencer have paid lip service to "inclusivity" in computing and gaming, but this device, the XAC, aims to do the trick by connecting niche add-ons to standard Microsoft hardware. This is a hugely important device for gamers with limited mobility. Nothing but praise for Microsoft for developing a device like this.
Channel: