Archive for the Tech Category

Spark pre-order registration is open!

Posted in english, Software, Tech with tags , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2012 by NachtVorst

I just put in a registration at to pre-order the Spark tablet!

From Aaron Seigo’s blog:

Spark tablet pre-order registration is now open on the Make Play Live website.

This is a huge and exciting step forward for the project as it starts to bring our logistics together.

By registering now you will help us gauge initial demand so we can serve that demand appropriately. When order processing open, you will receive an email with the order link and a priority order code which will jump your order to the front of the line.

We will also have a little gift waiting for you in the Make Play Live store. 🙂

Over the next two months we will be unveiling more and more about Make Play Live on the website. Fun things like the Spark logo and branding will be unveiled; but important information will also start to appear, such as how you can get involved as an app developer, how to join our logistics network on the retail side and further details on our long term roadmap. I’ll of course keep you all in the loop here on my blog as things move forward.

Head on over to Make Play Live to register your interest now and help us spread the word around the ‘net and amongst your friends. Together we can make Spark a terrific success and show the world how great an open device experience can be.


Spark Tablet Update and Answers

Posted in english, Software, Tech with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2012 by NachtVorst

Aaron Seigo posted an update on the Spark Tablet, basically a  Zenithink C71 running the Plasma Active interface on Linux (Mer in the case, the continuation of MeeGo).

Pre-order registration starts next week, with actual shipping expected in May. Aaron seems very committed to keeping things very open and Free, even though not every part of the software will be Free at launch, that is simply not possible yet. The ‘market’-client will be GPL’ed at release, encouraging others to make their own implementation, the back-end for the ‘market’ will be opened once it’s been proven to work well (or if the whole thing fails miserably, let’s hope not). 3G and GPS won’t be available on the first models, but I could live with that, though it would be a nice bonus.

Minor bummer is that Aaron is not sure if the HDMI-output will work well at launch, but at least he’s open about it. I’d really like to use that output to hook the Spark up to a TV or my pico-projector. But in the very worst case, if the software flops completely, it’s still an option to install Android on the device, I’ve even seen a video of the tablet running ICS (Android 4.0).

Finally, a Tablet with Free Software!

Posted in english, Tech with tags , , , , , , on January 29, 2012 by NachtVorst

Just read the announcement by Aaron Seigo, one of the most respected KDE developers, that the Spark will be released soon for €200. It will be the first tablet computer running completely on Free software!

Aaron Seigo. This is exactly how I looked after seeing this announcement \m/

The device will have the Plasma Active interface (KDE for mobile devices and TVs) running on an open Linux stack on unlocked hardware. The device is probably an A9 Zenithink ZT-280 C71, a pretty decent little tablet for the price with the following features:

  • 1 GHz ARMv7 (Cortex A9)  processor with Mali-400 GPU
  • 7″, 800 x 480, 5-point multi-touch capacitive display
  • 512 MB RAM, 4 GB Flash, micro-sd slot
  • WiFi and 3G
  • 1080p HDMI output
  • 335 grams

I’m using a similarly type of tablet (slightly bigger and faster) and it’s good enough for most things you’d want to do on a tablet, but I really do miss an HDMI output on mine, and it runs Android, which is certainly less Free then a pure Linux stack.

I really hope they pull this off and I’ll order one as soon as it’s available!

Court Orders XS4ALL and Ziggo to Censor Piratebay

Posted in Big Brother, Copyright, english, Politics, Software, Tech with tags , , , , on January 12, 2012 by NachtVorst

Today a dutch court of law decided that ISPs XS4ALL and Ziggo1 have to block all access to the Pirate Bay and related domains and IP-adresses2 as requested by anti-piracy organization BREIN. The court reasoned that since BitTorrent user can(!) upload material as well as download it (which is legal in a lot of cases), the website of the Pirate bay should be censored, even though they stopped hosting a tracker years ago.

In principle this is terrible, but since the Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it, it shouldn’t really make things all that harder in practice. A few options off the top of my head, in order of increasing complexity:

  • Use a proxy3
  • Use a VPN3
  • Use Opera Turbo (or Mini), you’ll get your pages through their servers in Norway, making it a VPN in some ways
  • Similarly, you could use the Pirate Bay Dancing plugin for FireFox
  • Use TOR
  • The Wayback Machine mirrors the .torrents too
  • Google has most of the magnetlinks in their cache
  • Use a service like web2mail to get webpages sent to your email
  • Use a shell-account3 and be creative from there:
  • You could deploy your own service that scrapes the Pirate Bay and makes the pages or the .torrents (or even better: a single .torrent or magnetlinkcontaing them) available via:
    • mailing lists
    • a private tracker
    • freenet
    • usenet
    • IRC
    • Google-docs
    • sneakernet
    • an online notepad
    • filehosting sites
    • QR-codes embedded in youtube-clips

Add your own suggestions in the comments and make sure you spread your results as far as possible!


1: pops up a warning that the site doesn’t (fully) support my Opera Browser and suggests I switch to a different browser. I’d suggest that an ISP should be able to server proper standards-compliant pages.

2: A list conveniently supplied and updated by BREIN.

3: Not one from the Netherlands, North Korea, China, Saudi Arabia or similarly afflicted countries of course

The Coming War on General Purpose Computation – Cory Doctorow at 28C3

Posted in Copyright, english, Politics, Software, Tech, Video with tags , on December 31, 2011 by NachtVorst

Cory Doctorow held his keynote speech at 28C3, the 28th Chaos Computer Congress last Monday. He’s in great form and the subject is +5 insightful, check it out below or read the transcript here.


Rop Gonggrijp’s keynote at 27C3

Posted in english, Politics, Tech with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2011 by NachtVorst

Must read for anyone remotely interested in technology and civil liberties:

Dutch Ur-hacker Rop Gonggrijps’ keynote at 27C3 (That’s the 27th Chaos Communication Congress for the non-initiated).

Some choice quotes after the break: Continue reading

Shamus Young on Games for Windows Live

Posted in english, Funny, Games, Software, Tech with tags , , , , , , on December 2, 2010 by NachtVorst

Shamus Young on Games for Windows Live:

it’s a buggy mess that crashes more often than a drunken Stevie Wonder playing Grand Theft Auto with a Wii Remote.

I almost had to buy a new laptop as I read that and the follow-up:

If this is Dancing with the Stars then Steam just came out and danced like Fred Astaire on moon gravity. Then Games for Windows LIVE came out on crutches, knocked over the scenery, and threw up on the judges.

Read his entire column/rant here.

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