Latest Article

Avengers: Endgame review — Marvel's ultimate love letter to fans tops Infinity War – CNET April 25, 2019

Spoiler free: The Russos’ wholly satisfying superhero epic, a sequel to every MCU movie ever, doesn’t waste a second. Avengers: Endgame review — Marvel's ultimate love letter to fans tops Infinity War – CNET Source: CNet

Loading images...

NASA's Curiosity rover makes unexpected discovery on Mars mountain – CNET

As the intrepid rover climbs Mars Mount Sharp, it makes a curious discovery. NASA's Curiosity rover makes unexpected discovery on Mars mountain – CNET
Source: CNet

400K+ items, making up ~1/3 of Amazon's ~$6B in annual sales in India, likely to disappear from Amazon India, while it works to meet new compliance rules (Vindu Goel/New York Times)


Vindu Goel / New York Times:

400K+ items, making up ~1/3 of Amazon’s ~$6B in annual sales in India, likely to disappear from Amazon India, while it works to meet new compliance rules  —  NEW DELHI — On Friday, Indian consumers will wake up to an emptier, more expensive version of Amazon’s shopping service.

400K+ items, making up ~1/3 of Amazon's ~B in annual sales in India, likely to disappear from Amazon India, while it works to meet new compliance rules (Vindu Goel/New York Times)
Source: Tech Meme

Some Reddit users who installed the Facebook Research VPN say they knew of its extensive data collection, but had little expectation of privacy to begin with (Shannon Palus/Slate)


Shannon Palus / Slate:

Some Reddit users who installed the Facebook Research VPN say they knew of its extensive data collection, but had little expectation of privacy to begin with  —  What the going rate for the hyper-invasive program tells us about the evolving understanding of our personal data’s value.

Some Reddit users who installed the Facebook Research VPN say they knew of its extensive data collection, but had little expectation of privacy to begin with (Shannon Palus/Slate)
Source: Tech Meme

Apple restores Google's internal iOS apps after certificate misuse punishment (Zack Whittaker/TechCrunch)


Zack Whittaker / TechCrunch:

Apple restores Google’s internal iOS apps after certificate misuse punishment  —  Apple has blocked Google from distributing its internal-only iOS apps on its corporate network after a TechCrunch investigation found the search giant abusing the certificates.

Apple restores Google's internal iOS apps after certificate misuse punishment (Zack Whittaker/TechCrunch)
Source: Tech Meme

A Science Lab In Your Pocket?

Since even the cheapest phone or computer now has plenty of horsepower, there’s been a move to create instruments that can do everything, using a reasonably simple front end and crunching data back on the host device. This is one of those tasks that seems easy, but doing it well turns out to be a lot of effort. One we recently noticed was Pocket Science Lab — a board that connects to your PC or Android phone and provides an oscilloscope, a logic analyzer, a wave generator, a power supply, a multimeter, and a few odd items such as an accelerometer, barometer, compass, and lux meter. The cost is about $65, so it isn’t a big investment. But what can it do? Read on, or you can watch the video below from Geekcamp Singapore.

The datasheet shows a reasonable device, although nothing amazing. The oscilloscope has 4 channels but only does 2 MSPS, so assuming the front end can handle it, you might visualize 1 MHz sine waves. There’s also a 12-bit voltmeter, three 12-bit power supplies with different ranges, a 4 MHz 4 channel logic analyzer, two sine or triangle wave generators, 4 PWM outputs, and the ability to measure capacitance. Finally, there’s a frequency counter that’s good to 16 MHz.

The 4 channels on the scope are welcome but the low sample rate isn’t. Also, it doesn’t say in the datasheet, but one of the biggest problems with devices like these is that you can’t use major functions together. For example, we bet you can’t use the scope and the logic analyzer at the same time.

For the price, it isn’t a bad deal. But it really isn’t a proper replacement for nearly any of the included virtual instruments. On the other hand, for under $70 it might be worth a shot. There’s a Linux app, so that’s a plus. We like that it is all open source so you could fix anything you don’t like.

You can see a run through of logging data from the light meter on the FOSSASIA channel. They also have a video on the waveform generator.

The Analog Discovery 2 is nicer looking, but not open source and much more expensive. It also has better specs. Of course, you don’t need a PC to have a universal instrument.

 

A Science Lab In Your Pocket?
Source: HackADay

A breakdown of an internal memo in which Facebook details distribution and onboarding for its Research app, and defends its data collection methods, disclosures (Josh Constine/TechCrunch)


Josh Constine / TechCrunch:

A breakdown of an internal memo in which Facebook details distribution and onboarding for its Research app, and defends its data collection methods, disclosures  —  Early this morning, we received agreement from Apple to issue a new enterprise certificate; this has allowed us to produce …

A breakdown of an internal memo in which Facebook details distribution and onboarding for its Research app, and defends its data collection methods, disclosures (Josh Constine/TechCrunch)
Source: Tech Meme

Scientists build a 3D printer that turns goo into solid objects – CNET

“The Replicator” uses light to transform liquids into 3D objects in a matter of minutes. Scientists build a 3D printer that turns goo into solid objects – CNET
Source: CNet

Scientists use drones to ease shark fears (it's probably just a dolphin) – CNET

That dark shape in the water? Australian scientists say its 135 times more likely to be a dolphin … or maybe even a “fever” of rays. Scientists use drones to ease shark fears (it's probably just a dolphin) – CNET
Source: CNet

What to expect as oral arguments begin Friday in Mozilla's lawsuit to stop FCC's repeal of net neutrality rules (Colin Lecher/The Verge)


Colin Lecher / The Verge:

What to expect as oral arguments begin Friday in Mozilla’s lawsuit to stop FCC’s repeal of net neutrality rules  —  The FCC will make its case against the rules  —  Oral arguments will begin tomorrow for one of the most important cases in internet law history.

What to expect as oral arguments begin Friday in Mozilla's lawsuit to stop FCC's repeal of net neutrality rules (Colin Lecher/The Verge)
Source: Tech Meme

China's going back to the Moon and this time it's bringing back samples – CNET

Detailing their space plans for 2019, China reveals how their next Moon mission will bring lunar samples home for the first time in decades. China's going back to the Moon and this time it's bringing back samples – CNET
Source: CNet

Super Bowl 2019: Synced sex toys will buzz for Brady, rumble for Rams – CNET

Adult webcam platform CamSoda wants to make Bluetooth vibrators buzz for big plays during the big game. Super Bowl 2019: Synced sex toys will buzz for Brady, rumble for Rams – CNET
Source: CNet

Amazon’s Sales Growth Slows, Even as Cloud Business Stays Hot

The company is compensating for slowing growth in e-commerce by expanding its fast-moving, highly profitable cloud and advertising businesses. Amazon’s Sales Growth Slows, Even as Cloud Business Stays Hot
Source: NY Times Tech

Apple Shows Facebook Who Has the Power in an App Dispute

After two days of disruptions, the iPhone maker restored the social network’s access to internal apps that its employees rely on in their jobs. Apple Shows Facebook Who Has the Power in an App Dispute
Source: NY Times Tech

Sources: following Thiel-related controversy and declining private valuations, Palantir is giving employees larger bonuses and improved stock options (Lizette Chapman/Bloomberg)


Lizette Chapman / Bloomberg:

Sources: following Thiel-related controversy and declining private valuations, Palantir is giving employees larger bonuses and improved stock options  —  Palantir Technologies Inc. pitches itself to new recruits as a place where they can build data-mining software that will help thwart terrorism …

Sources: following Thiel-related controversy and declining private valuations, Palantir is giving employees larger bonuses and improved stock options (Lizette Chapman/Bloomberg)
Source: Tech Meme

I was wrong about retro consoles


The numbers for 2018 are coming in, and it appears the video game industry is getting along just fine. The year turned out to be an alright one for the industry, and it upends predictions that the focus on revisiting older games via remasters and nostalgic re-releases would put a crimp on things — namely, um, my own prediction. It’s not exactly a secret that the video game industry has a passion for repackaging old games to re-sell them on new machines. It’s not new: I’m old enough to remember when it was arcade games cropping up on the Nintendo…

This story continues at The Next Web

I was wrong about retro consoles
Source: The Next Web

This Chromecast Volume Knob Has a Certain ’70s Chic

Chromecast devices have become popular in homes around the world in the last few years. They make it easy to cast audio or video from a smartphone or laptop, to a set of speakers or a display connected to the same network. [Akos] wanted to control the volume on these devices with a single, simple piece of equipment, rather than always reaching for a smartphone. Thus was built the CastVolumeKnob.

The project began by using Wireshark to capture data sent by the pychromecast library. Once [Akos] understood the messaging format, this was implemented in MicroPython on an ESP8266. A rotary encoder is used as a volume knob, and a Neopixel ring is used for visual feedback as to the device being controlled and the current volume level.

Further work was done to improve usability, with an ATtiny85 microcontroller being used to monitor the encoder for button presses before waking up the ESP8266, greatly reducing power consumption. The device is also rechargeable, thanks to an 18650 lithium polymer battery, and charger and boost converter boards. It’s all wrapped up in a sleek 3D printed case, with a translucent bezel for the LEDs and a swanky machined aluminium knob as the cherry on top.

It’s a homemade device that nonetheless would be stylish and unobtrusive in the living room environment. We imagine it proves very useful when important phone calls come in and it’s necessary to cut the stereo down to a more appropriate volume.

For another take, check out this USB volume knob with a nice weighty feel, courtesy of lead shot.

This Chromecast Volume Knob Has a Certain ’70s Chic
Source: HackADay

Linux.Speakup

Risk Level: Very Low. Type: Trojan. Linux.Speakup
Source: Symantec lastest threats

Packed.Generic.542

Risk Level: Very Low. Type: Trojan. Packed.Generic.542
Source: Symantec lastest threats

Hewlett Packard Enterprise says former CEO Meg Whitman will not stand for re-election to its board (Matt Weinberger/Business Insider)


Matt Weinberger / Business Insider:

Hewlett Packard Enterprise says former CEO Meg Whitman will not stand for re-election to its board  —  – Meg Whitman will not stand for re-election for the board of directors at Hewlett Packard Enterprise.  — This marks the final departure of Whitman from HPE, a company she helped create …

Hewlett Packard Enterprise says former CEO Meg Whitman will not stand for re-election to its board (Matt Weinberger/Business Insider)
Source: Tech Meme

Facebook won't let Firefox thwart political manipulation, Mozilla complains to EU – CNET

But hampering Mozilla’s ad analysis tool is just part of protecting Facebook users from bad actors, Facebook responds. Facebook won't let Firefox thwart political manipulation, Mozilla complains to EU – CNET
Source: CNet

China plans more than 30 space missions in 2019 – CNET

The Chang’e 5 will bring lunar samples back to Earth, says Chinese state media. China plans more than 30 space missions in 2019 – CNET
Source: CNet

Apple blocks Google’s internal apps on iOS devices – CNET

The iPhone maker dings Google, the same way it did Facebook. Apple blocks Google’s internal apps on iOS devices – CNET
Source: CNet

Facebook says Apple has restored Facebook's access to enterprise certificates; Apple says it's working with Google to reinstate Google's enterprise certificates (Chance Miller/9to5Mac)


Chance Miller / 9to5Mac:

Facebook says Apple has restored Facebook’s access to enterprise certificates; Apple says it’s working with Google to reinstate Google’s enterprise certificates  —  In a new statement today, Facebook says that Apple has restored its access to enterprise certificates.

Facebook says Apple has restored Facebook's access to enterprise certificates; Apple says it's working with Google to reinstate Google's enterprise certificates (Chance Miller/9to5Mac)
Source: Tech Meme

The clueless parent’s guide to understanding TikTok


In September last year, TikTok surpassed YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, and even Facebook in monthly App Store downloads. For a fringe social network, the kind most would assume occupies a second-tier of the internet’s social media hierarchy, you’d be forgiven for not noticing the app had become the internet’s most interesting network of creatives. For more than 500 million monthly active users, TikTok is a place to let your freak flag fly. It’s a difficult thing to describe, but comparing it to Vine — the now-gone six-second video loop platform — seems like an obvious place to start. Like Vine, the…

This story continues at The Next Web

The clueless parent’s guide to understanding TikTok
Source: The Next Web

Apple revokes Google’s ability to use internal iOS apps, just like Facebook

The companies said they are hoping to resolve the issue quickly. Apple revokes Google’s ability to use internal iOS apps, just like Facebook
Source: Washington Post Tech

Twitter says it has suspended three notification spammer apps for repeatedly violating its API rules related to aggressive following and follow churn (Josh Constine/TechCrunch)


Josh Constine / TechCrunch:

Twitter says it has suspended three notification spammer apps for repeatedly violating its API rules related to aggressive following and follow churn  —  Notification spam ruins social networks, diluting the real human interaction.  Desperate to gain an audience, users pay services …

Twitter says it has suspended three notification spammer apps for repeatedly violating its API rules related to aggressive following and follow churn (Josh Constine/TechCrunch)
Source: Tech Meme

Kleiner Perkins says it has raised a $600M fund, its first since the departure of Mary Meeker, focusing on seed, Series A, and Series B financings (Josh Constine/TechCrunch)


Josh Constine / TechCrunch:

Kleiner Perkins says it has raised a $600M fund, its first since the departure of Mary Meeker, focusing on seed, Series A, and Series B financings  —  “KP used to be a small team doing hands-on company building.  We’re moving away from being this institution with multiple products …

Kleiner Perkins says it has raised a 0M fund, its first since the departure of Mary Meeker, focusing on seed, Series A, and Series B financings (Josh Constine/TechCrunch)
Source: Tech Meme

AWS's Q4 revenue of $7.43B AWS beat analyst estimates of $7.29B; AWS accounted for 58% of Amazon's overall operating income in Q4 (Jordan Novet/CNBC)


Jordan Novet / CNBC:

AWS’s Q4 revenue of $7.43B AWS beat analyst estimates of $7.29B; AWS accounted for 58% of Amazon’s overall operating income in Q4  —  Amazon’s cloud-computing division said revenue jumped 45 percent in the fourth quarter, as the company continued to cement its lead over Microsoft and Google.

AWS's Q4 revenue of .43B AWS beat analyst estimates of .29B; AWS accounted for 58% of Amazon's overall operating income in Q4 (Jordan Novet/CNBC)
Source: Tech Meme

Amazon’s surging revenue growth shows signs of slowing – CNET

Years of rapid growth are starting to catch up to the e-commerce giant. Amazon’s surging revenue growth shows signs of slowing – CNET
Source: CNet

Source: Apple shuts down Google's ability to distribute internal iOS apps; staff transportation app and beta versions of Maps, Gmail, others are blocked (Tom Warren/The Verge)


Tom Warren / The Verge:

Source: Apple shuts down Google’s ability to distribute internal iOS apps; staff transportation app and beta versions of Maps, Gmail, others are blocked  —  Google joins Facebook in Apple’s banning spree  —  Apple has now shut down Google’s ability to distribute its internal iOS apps …

Source: Apple shuts down Google's ability to distribute internal iOS apps; staff transportation app and beta versions of Maps, Gmail, others are blocked (Tom Warren/The Verge)
Source: Tech Meme

Chip Giant Intel Picks Interim Leader as Permanent C.E.O. After Long Search

Robert Swan takes the helm at a time when the Silicon Valley company is financially strong but facing questions about its future. Chip Giant Intel Picks Interim Leader as Permanent C.E.O. After Long Search
Source: NY Times Tech

Facebook removes activity related to alleged Iranian influence campaign – CNET

The content was targeted to users in the Middle East and South Asia. Facebook removes activity related to alleged Iranian influence campaign – CNET
Source: CNet

Amazon reports Q4 revenue of $72.4B, up 20% YoY, AWS revenue of $7.43B, up 45% YoY, and net income of $3.0B, up 58% YoY (Amazon.com, Inc.)

Amazon.com, Inc.:

Amazon reports Q4 revenue of $72.4B, up 20% YoY, AWS revenue of $7.43B, up 45% YoY, and net income of $3.0B, up 58% YoY  —  Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced financial results for its fourth quarter ended December 31, 2018.  —  Operating cash flow increased 67% to $30.7 billion …

Amazon reports Q4 revenue of .4B, up 20% YoY, AWS revenue of .43B, up 45% YoY, and net income of .0B, up 58% YoY (Amazon.com, Inc.)
Source: Tech Meme

How long can your phone survive in a polar vortex? – CNET

Find out how best to handle your smartphone during extreme cold temperatures. How long can your phone survive in a polar vortex? – CNET
Source: CNet

K40 Gets A Leg Up With Open Source Z Table

If you’ve done even the most cursory research into buying a laser cutter, you’ve certainly heard of the K40. Usually selling for around $400 USD online, the K40 is not so much a single machine as a class of very similar 40 watt CO2 lasers from various Chinese manufacturers. As you might expect, it takes considerable corner cutting to drive the cost down that low, but the K40 is still arguably the most cost-effective way to get a “real” laser cutter into your shop. If you’re willing to do some modifications on the thing, even better.

One of the shortcomings of the K40 is that it lacks a Z axis, and with thick material that needs multiple cuts at increasingly deeper depths, this can be a hassle. [Aaron Peterson] decided to take it upon himself to design and build an adjustable Z table for the K40 at his local makerspace (River City Labs), and being the swell guy that he is, has made it available under an open source license so the rest of the K40-owning world can benefit from his work.

[Aaron] started the design with a number of goals which really helped elevate the project from a one-off hack to a sustainable community project. For one, he only wanted to use easily available commodity hardware to keep the cost down. The most complex components should all be 3D printable so the design would be easy to replicate by others, and finally, he wanted the user to have the ability to scale it in all dimensions. The end result is a electronically controlled lifting platform that anyone can build, for any laser cutter. It doesn’t even have to be limited to laser cutters; if you have a need for precisely raising or lowering something, this design might be exactly what you’re looking for.

The table is primarily constructed out of 15×15 aluminum extrusion, and uses standard hardware store expanded wire mesh as a top surface. Height is adjusted by rotating the four 95 mm T8 leadscrews with a GT2 belt and pulleys, which prevents any corner from getting out of sync with the others. Connected to a standard NEMA 17 stepper motor, this arrangement should easily be capable of sub-millimeter accuracy. It looks as though [Aaron] has left controlling the stepper motor as an exercise for the reader, but an Arduino with a CNC shield would likely be the easiest route.

We’ve seen a lot of hacking around the K40 over the last couple of years, from spring loaded beds to complete rebuilds which are hardly recognizable. If you’re looking for a cheap laser with a huge catalog of possible hacks and modifications, you could do a lot worse than starting with this inexpensive Chinese machine.

K40 Gets A Leg Up With Open Source Z Table
Source: HackADay

Nissan lets you know what size TV will fit in each of its SUVs ahead of the big game – Roadshow

You might not want to take your Kicks to pick up your new 75-incher. Nissan lets you know what size TV will fit in each of its SUVs ahead of the big game – Roadshow
Source: CNet

Selling fake followers and likes is illegal, landmark settlement finds – CNET

“Anyone profiting off of deception and impersonation is breaking the law,” says the New York attorney general. Selling fake followers and likes is illegal, landmark settlement finds – CNET
Source: CNet

Twitter Says False Content Is Evolving, and More Comes From the U.S.

The social media service said on Thursday that disinformation on its platform now includes more domestic and foreign sources — and not just Russia. Twitter Says False Content Is Evolving, and More Comes From the U.S.
Source: NY Times Tech

Critic’s Pick: An 1840s Road Trip, Captured on Lustrous Silver

An exquisite show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art recalls travel before digital maps, when photography was the hottest of new media. Critic’s Pick: An 1840s Road Trip, Captured on Lustrous Silver
Source: NY Times Tech

Down the Rabbit Hole of Electronics Manufacturing

If you want to build hundreds of a thing (and let’s face it, you do) now is a magical time to do it. Scale manufacturing has never been more accessible to the hardware hacker, but that doesn’t mean it’s turn-key with no question marks along the way. The path is there, but it’s not well marked and is only now becoming well-traveled. The great news is that yes, you can get hundreds of a thing manufactured, and Kerry Scharfglass proves that it’s a viable process for the lone-wolf electronics designer. He’s shared tips and tricks of the manufacturing process in a prefect level of detail during his talk at the 2018 Hackaday Superconference.

Kerry is the person behind the Dragonfly badge that was sold at DEF CON over the last two years. Yes, this is #badgelife, but it’s also a mechanism for him to test the waters for launching his own medium-run electronics business. And let’s face it, badge making can be a business. Kerry treats it as such in his talk.

After creating 100 badges for DC25 back in 2017 he set a goal in 2018 to bump that number to 500, to use an overseas assembly house to take the process off of his kitchen table, and to come in with a sales price that was 3x the cost of goods sold. He achieved all of this and learn an amazing amount in the process.

This talk is a masterclass in judging tradeoffs during the design process. With 48 RGB LEDs on each of the 500 badges, Kerry was planning to source 25,000 LEDs. With that multiplier, price matters… a lot! He walks through his process which involved surveying available parts to select the most common footprint and pin alignment to ensure he had options if one supplier flaked on him. Speaking of that, he discusses “hedging” on the parts order by ordering in advance to make sure the world supply of a part isn’t yanked out from under you. At these scales, that is certainly a concern.

Also interesting is his cost-benefit analysis of a few different aspects of the project. After spending 20+ hours on PCB routing he moved from a 4-layer to a 6-layer board. That added $130 to the total cost of the project, but it saved him hours he spent on LED animations instead. The customer cares about those animations, not about the number of layers. He also discusses 2-sided assembly at this scale. For one board, it would have cost an additional $58, but at 500 it’s just $0.10 per unit (that’s $50 more for the entire run of $500). Making this choice means easier layout and the ability to make a more artistically governed front face of the badge.

Watch the video, it’s a wealth of knowledge, then come back here and leave a comment thanking Kerry for putting so much care into sharing the story of this product cycle. When we talk about Supercon being the Ultimate Hardware Con, these are the kinds of talks that get us there!

In total, Kerry put about 460 hours of work into producing 460 working Sympetrum-v3 badges. He registered about $14,000 of profit which works out to around $30 per hour for his labor. What I’m still stuck on is the time sink of about 10.25 full-time work weeks. Now that’s #badgelife.

Down the Rabbit Hole of Electronics Manufacturing
Source: HackADay

Twitter removed some accounts originating in Iran, Russia and Venezuela that targeted U.S. midterm election

Twitter revealed Thursday it had removed thousands of malicious accounts thought to have originated in Iran, Russia and Venezuela for spreading disinformation online, including previously undisclosed efforts to target the 2018 U.S. midterm election. Twitter removed some accounts originating in Iran, Russia and Venezuela that targeted U.S. midterm election
Source: Washington Post Tech

It’s Not the Stuff of a Playful BuzzFeed Quiz

For the 220 people laid off recently at the digital publisher, a harsh reality hit this week that included a fight for better severance pay and attacks from trolls. It’s Not the Stuff of a Playful BuzzFeed Quiz
Source: NY Times Tech

Net neutrality heads to court tomorrow. Here’s what to expect.

Three federal judges again hold the future of the Internet in their hands. Net neutrality heads to court tomorrow. Here’s what to expect.
Source: Washington Post Tech

Uber and Cabify to suspend services in Barcelona after local taxi protests and government ruling that they can pick up passengers only after a 15-minute delay (Axel Bugge/Reuters)


Axel Bugge / Reuters:

Uber and Cabify to suspend services in Barcelona after local taxi protests and government ruling that they can pick up passengers only after a 15-minute delay  —  MADRID (Reuters) – Ride-hailing companies Uber and Cabify are to suspend their services in Barcelona in response …

Uber and Cabify to suspend services in Barcelona after local taxi protests and government ruling that they can pick up passengers only after a 15-minute delay (Axel Bugge/Reuters)
Source: Tech Meme

Linux Fu: Easier File Watching

In an earlier installment of Linux Fu, I mentioned how you can use inotifywait to efficiently watch for file system changes. The comments had a lot of alternative ways to do the same job, which is great. But there was one very easy-to-use tool that didn’t show up, so I wanted to talk about it. That tool is entr. It isn’t as versatile, but it is easy to use and covers a lot of common use cases where you want some action to occur when a file changes.

The program is dead simple. It reads a list of file names on its standard input. It will then run a command and repeat it any time the input files change. There are a handful of options we’ll talk about in a bit, but it is really that simple. For example, try this after you install entr with your package manager.

  1. Open two shell windows
  2. In one window, open your favorite editor to create an empty file named /tmp/foo and save it
  3. In the second window issue the command: echo "/tmp/foo" | entr wc /tmp/foo
  4. Back in the first window (or your GUI editor) make some changes to the file and save it while observing the second window

If you can’t find entr, you can download it from the website.

Frequently, you’ll feed the output from find or a similar command to entr.

What It Isn’t

I had mentioned incron before as a way to attach actions to file changes. It also makes things easier, although perhaps not as easy as entr. As the name suggests, incron does for filesystem changes what cron does for time. That is, it causes some action to occur any time the specified file system changes happen. That survives a reboot or anything else short of you canceling it. This is very different from entr. With entr, the command runs like a normal application. As long as it is running, changes in the target files will trigger the specified action. When you stop the program, that’s the end of it. Usually, you’ll stop with a Control+C or a “q” character.

Speaking of the keyboard, you can also press space to trigger the action manually, as though a file changed. So, unlike incron, entr is an interactive tool. You’ll want it running in the foreground.

Options

There are several command line options:

  • -c – Clear screen before executing command
  • -d – Track directories that do not start with “.”
  • -p – Do not execute the command until an event occurs
  • -r – Kill previously run command before executing command
  • -s – Use shell on first argument

The /_ placeholder gets the name of the first file that caused a trigger, although that doesn’t seem to work properly with -s. For example:

find /tmp/t/data -name '*.txt' | entr cp /_ /tmp/archive

When one of the .txt files changes, it will copy to /tmp/archive.

The -d option has a peculiarity. With it you can use a directory name or a file name and the program will watch that directory along with any files. The file changes behave as normal. However, any new files in the directory will cause entr to stop. This lets you write things in a loop like this:

while true; do
  ls -d src/*.[ch] | entr -d make
done

The loop ensures that entr is always looking at the right list of files. This will also cause an error exit if you delete one of the files. The ls command provides all the .c and .h files in the src directory. The command is smart enough to infer the directory, so you don’t need to set it explicitly.

Missing Changes

The -r option is good if you are running a program that persists — for example, you might use kdiff3 to show the differences between a recently changed file and an original copy. This option causes entr to kill the program before starting a new one. Without this flag, it is possible, too, for entr to miss a file change. For example, make a file called foo and try this:

echo foo | entr -ps 'echo change; sleep 20'

In another shell, change foo.  You’ll see the change message print on the original shell. If you wait 20 seconds you’ll see something like “bash returned exit code 0.” Now change foo again, but before you see the bash message, change it again. Once the 20 second timer expires, entr will go back to waiting and the new change will not cause a trigger!

Exit entr and start it again with the options -psr instead of -ps. Now do the same test again. You’ll see that the change registers and the original bash script never completes. However, if there are no changes for 20 seconds, the last script will exit normally.

Examples

There are plenty of examples in the tool’s man page. For example:

find src/ | entr -s 'make | head -n 20'

This gets a list of all files in the source tree (including subdirectories) and when any change, you run make. The head command only shows the top 20 lines of output.

A lot of editors make automatic backup of files, but if yours doesn’t it would be pretty simple to make an auto archive with entr, although, honestly, use git or something if you want real version control:

echo testfile.txt | entr -s 'AFN=/tmp/testfile-$(date).txt; cp testfile.txt "$AFN"; zip -j archive.zip "$AFN"'

This stores each version of testfile.txt in archive.zip along with a timestamp on the file name:


It was tempting to use /_ in this script, but it doesn’t seem to work with the -s option very well.

Embrace Change

I doubt I’ll use entr as much as I use incron. However, for little one-off projects, it is pretty handy and I could see making some use of in that case. However, as usual, for any given task there are usually many ways to accomplish it. Having entr in your toolbox can’t hurt.

There are still other ways. For example, last time, someone mentioned in the comments that systemd can take a “path unit” that can trigger when a file or directory appears or changes. This still uses inotify internally, so it is really just another wrapper. Still, if you like systemd, it is a consistent way to set up something similar to incron but under the tentacles of systemd.

Linux Fu: Easier File Watching
Source: HackADay

Review: Cambridge Audio’s Yoyo (L) is a hi-fi Sonos alternative with Google Cast


The most popular wireless speakers tend to be part of a walled garden. Sonos, Google, and Apple’s speakers force you into their own wireless protocols, with few or no inputs for wired sources. Though they all sound great in their own way, they might not be the best choice for audio enthusiasts looking for versatility. If you’re looking for a wireless speaker that offers convenience, sound quality, and flexibility, Cambridge Audio’s $400 Yoyo (L) is a good place to start. You may not be familiar with Cambridge Audio, but it’s been making audio equipment for over 50 years. Best known for its…

This story continues at The Next Web

Or just read more coverage about: Google

Review: Cambridge Audio’s Yoyo (L) is a hi-fi Sonos alternative with Google Cast
Source: The Next Web

Mercedes debuts new V-Class van, promises electric EQV concept for Geneva – Roadshow

It’s just a refresh, but the promise of an electric one is great. Mercedes debuts new V-Class van, promises electric EQV concept for Geneva – Roadshow
Source: CNet

NASA's Hubble telescope finds a surprise neighbor galaxy hiding out – CNET

Oh hello, Bedin 1. We didn’t see you sneaking around back there. NASA's Hubble telescope finds a surprise neighbor galaxy hiding out – CNET
Source: CNet

Microsoft's Super Bowl ad features kids gaming with the Xbox Adaptive Controller – CNET

The controller is designed to work for gamers of all shapes, sizes and abilities. Microsoft's Super Bowl ad features kids gaming with the Xbox Adaptive Controller – CNET
Source: CNet

Deactivating Facebook leaves people less informed but happier, study finds

The study found that temporarily quitting Facebook led people to spend more time offline, watching TV and socializing with family and friends, and provoked a small but significant improvement in satisfaction with their lives. Deactivating Facebook leaves people less informed but happier, study finds
Source: Washington Post Tech