SSD Hee! Hee! Hee!

Linode logo

Linode logo

Fresh from updating to the newest version of Worpress, word reaches us here at the madra.net underground bunker that our web hosts Linode are rolling out a programme of doubling the RAM on all their VPS packages,  upgrading their network to 40Gbps and replacing all ‘spinning rust’ hard drives with SSDs.

The changes are being rolled out across all Linode’s datacentres with London [from where madra.net broadcasts to an uncaring word] due for the revamp in a weeks time. Just think: soon the intarwebs at large will be able to completely ignore this site faster than ever before!

At the risk of looking like a referral-spamming twat [I'm painfully conscious of the fact this'll be the second one I've posted today, but it's just the way the stars came into conjunction news-wise], I’ve been a satisfied customer of Linode since 2009, with no complaints whatsoever thus far. So if you’re looking for a reasonably priced rock solid VPS, you could do a lot worse. Obligatory referral link: https://www.linode.com/?r=2ac34b23c39172ec407a6c29cf5fa28862bcdc2e

If you just want to read more details on Linode’s forthcoming upgrades, you can find that info here on their blog: https://blog.linode.com/2014/04/17/linode-cloud-ssds-double-ram-much-more/

BAF 2014 –Open for Submissions

Bradford Animation Festival 'Osgoods'

Bradford Animation Festival ‘Osgoods’

The always excellent Bradford Animation Festival is now taking submissions for the 2014 jamboree [closing date 18th July]. Needless to say, I’ve spent so much time prevaricating, letting work get in the way and generally being a useless twunt, that I’ve got nothing to enter this year [again!]. But those of you out there who are more productive than myself [at last count, the entire population of the planet] can find the submission form here:

http://www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk/BradfordAnimationFestival/bafsubmissionform.aspx

The King Was in His Counting House…

trovlogoblackIf you’re the kind of person who feels the need to put an exact monetary value on your accumulated possessions* as you journey through this Vale of Tears, you might be interested in Trōv, a new website/app, which seeks to help you do exactly that.

Q: Why should I put things in my Trov?

A: Significant benefits can be realized through a clear understanding of what you own and what it’s currently worth. Trov’s technologies and processes enable smarter decisions regarding insurance, estate planning, tangible wealth management and transactions. The more you Trov, the more you know. The more you know, the more you benefit.

[*I'm not, so no affiliation/recommendation either way]

More info here: http://www.trov.com/

Tails –The Securest Operating System?

Tails –the secure OS

Tails –the securest OS?

Tails is an Operating System designed to be as secure as it’s possible to be. It runs off a DVD, USB stick or SD card, routes all its network connections through the Tor network, encrypts said connections [as well as encrypting emails, messaging, etc] and [unless you explicitly authorise it to do so] does not write any data to the computer it is being run from.

It helps you to use the Internet anonymously and circumvent censorship almost anywhere you go and on any computer but leaving no trace unless you ask it to explicitly.

It is a complete operating system designed to be used from a DVD, USB stick, or SD card independently of the computer’s original operating system. It is Free Software and based on Debian GNU/Linux.

More info and downloads here: https://tails.boum.org/

Alias Smith and WordPress

wordpress39smithThe venerable and ever-popular WordPress [the software which powers this very boutique!] has been updated to version 3,9 –codename “Smith”,  after James Oscar “Jimmy” Smith. [No, me neither!].

The new or improved features are listed as follows:

  • Improved visual editing
  • Edit images easily
  • Drag and drop your images
  • Gallery previews
  • Do more with audio and video
  • Live widget and header previews
  • Stunning new theme browser

More details here: http://wordpress.org/news/2014/04/smith/

Kim Dotcom Gets His Toys Back

Love him, loathe him, or find him an amusing fatty: you can’t deny that Kim Dotcom is one of the intarweb’s more colourful characters. The founder of the now defunct file-sharing website Megaupload.com has been in the news a lot over the past year or two.

kimdotcom

Kim Dotcom in typically shy retiring pose

The US seized his Megaupload website in January 2012 and then [in that ol'  'US law = World law' way of their's] got the New Zealand police to raid Dotcom’s mansion in Coatesville [approximately 30 km north-west of Auckland, NZ] where they seized NZ$6M worth of property. Dotcom has been fighting extradition to the US ever since and also battling to have his goodies returned.

Well, now the High Court in Auckland has denied a police request to extend the restraining order on the seized property, so Dotcom is due to get all his ill-gotten gains back.

The Krazy Kraut posted a typically self-effacing picture to his Twitter account, under the message “Come to Daddy!!”

Kim Dotcom with cars

Kim Dotcom with cars

Mega.co.nz logoIn between battling the US and NZ authorities, Kim Dotcom has also found time to reincarnate Megaupload as the New Zealand based Mega.co.nz. which gives away a pretty impressive 50GB of storage on their free accounts [Given the rotund reprobate's continual brushes with the law, I'm not sure I'd want to backup my most valuable ssets there! –but not bad for storing a huge wodge of your more 'replacable' files].

You can sign up for Mega.co.nz here: https://mega.co.nz/#pro/CQNT2aBJ  [Usual disclaimer: This is my affiliate link which supposedly gets me something, if you use it to sign up. But, to be honest, I'm not sure what. As ever, just got to the base URL if you want to sign up eithout any affiliate shenanigans.]

More on this from the New Zealand Herald: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11239397

Lavaboom

lavaboomlogoFed up with ‘The Man’ snooping on your top secret plans for world domination?… or just think that ‘private’ correspondence ought to be just that?

If so, you may have heard of, or even used in the past a US based encrypted email service called Lavabit. Lavabit shot to fame when its founder Ladar Levison did the honourable thing and closed down the service, rather than “be complicit in crimes against the American people”,  when the NSA came a-calling and asking him to hand over the encryption keys to the service.

Well, now a similarly monickered encrypted email service has been launched [CORRECTION: is launching at the end of this month] called Lavaboom. The naming similarity is not a coincidence: Lavaboom’s founders are self-confessed fans of Lavabit. There is one major difference though –Lavaboom is based in Germany and therefore subject to German privacy laws. Thus, in spite of the US’s seeming belief that their laws apply globally, Lavaboom are confident they can keep Uncle sam’s prying eyes off your private correspondence.

[If these kind of issues concern you, you might also like to read the recent article on Dropbox, which offered a Norwegian alternative]

Lavaboom signup: http://www.lavaboom.com/

Nice Ice!

CNC milled ice cube

CNC milled ice cube

What happens when you stick a CNC router inside a freezer and set it to work on some blocks of ice?

Japanese company TBWA\Hakuhodo has done just that –for an advertising campaign for Suntory Whiskey– to produce these tiny, precisely carved ice sculptures, which are small enough to use as ice cubes. Each ice cube is modelled in 3D software first, which is then fed into the CNC machine.  Each cube takes up to 6 hours to carve.