Monday, October 21, 2013

Review: Salt keeps server automation simple

October 17, 2013

Like Puppet, Chef, and Ansible, Salt is an open source server management and automation solution with commercial, officially supported options. Based on command-line-driven server and client services and utilities, Salt is primarily focused on Linux and Unix server management, though it offers significant Windows management capabilities as well. While Salt may look simple on its face, it's surprisingly powerful and extensible, and it has been designed to handle extremely large numbers of clients.

Salt uses a push method of communication with clients by default, though there's also a means to use SSH rather than locally installed clients. Using the default push method, the clients don't actively check in with a master server; rather, the master server reaches out to control or modify each client based on commands issued manually or through scheduling. But again, Salt can also operate in the other direction, with clients querying the master for updates. Salt functions asynchronously, and as such, it's very fast. It also incorporates an asynchronous file server for file deployments.

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First Listen: Death Cab For Cutie, 'Transatlanticism (10th Anniversary Edition)'

Death Cab for Cutie's Transatlanticism (10th Anniversary Edition) comes out Oct. 29.

Courtesy of the artist

Death Cab for Cutie's Transatlanticism (10th Anniversary Edition) comes out Oct. 29.

Courtesy of the artist

Life hands us many milestones as we wend our way from cradle to grave. From first teeth to first kisses to first loves and losses, we mark off our crucial firsts as transformative events; we're no longer babies, or children, or teenagers, or dependent on others to get by. One of those milestones, for those of us who so often set our lives to music, is the first time we get to mutter, "That came out 10 years ago? God, I am so old."

Death Cab for Cutie's Transatlanticism played in the background of countless decade-old milestones around the world, especially the ones involving first kisses and so forth, and it's no wonder. The album, and its epic title song in particular, played on an endless loop across popular culture — on movie soundtracks and in dramatic moments from such TV shows as Six Feet Under. The way singer Ben Gibbard channeled youthful confusion, vulnerability and sweetness mirrored universal fumbling feelings of growing up and facing down the complexities of love, heartbreak, long-distance yearning and budding nostalgia. From the first line of its first song ("So this is the new year / and I don't feel any different"), Transatlanticism swims in uncertainty, as if its narrator isn't even quite sure how feelings work yet.

For all its ubiquity and imitators, Transatlanticism holds up as an exquisitely produced, largely flawless record in which every song is bound to serve as someone's favorite. As such, though new would-be fans are born every day, most of its target audience already owns the thing, right? Enter this reissue, out Oct. 29, in which the original album is packaged alongside an identically sequenced but otherwise revelatory set of demo versions.

For those who've immersed themselves in Transatlanticism's studio version over the course of the last 10 years, these demos form fascinating sketches of a great album in progress. Some, like "The New Year" and "We Looked Like Giants," are overwhelmed by a ticky-tack drum machine. The title song, which in its final form blooms into a wondrous slow-motion cataclysm over the course of nearly eight minutes, here peters out in six, with the album's most important line — "I need you so much closer" — rendered flat, repetitive and uneventful. "The Sound of Settling," so zippy on the record, is slowed to a crawl. It's fascinating to take these songs apart in an effort to determine which ideas and production decisions had already formed, just as it is to hear the occasional song ("Passenger Seat," for example) that got left almost entirely as is.

It's a little strange to consider Transatlanticism as a kernel of nostalgia; after all, its cultural impact hasn't really receded into the past. Death Cab for Cutie has made terrific records both before and since, even as Gibbard and producer/multi-instrumentalist Chris Walla dabble in solo projects. Heck, for many, the album has been sitting in iTunes the whole time. But that 10th anniversary and this stack of demos make this a fine time to check in with how cleanly and effortlessly Transatlanticism has aged. We should all be so lucky.

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Fox International Channels Unveils New Lifestyle and Reality Programming Division

TORONTO - FOX International Channels has tapped Real Housewives executive producer Christian Barcellos to head up a new lifestyle and reality series division.

Barcellos becomes executive vp of lifestyle and reality programming at the global channels unit of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., overseeing development, production and acquisitions of unscripted programming.

He will be based in New York City once he takes his post in November, working opposite Sharon Tal Ygaudo on the scripted programming front and reporting to FIC president and CEO Hernan Lopez.

PHOTOS: Behind-the-Scenes With Reality TV's Top Stars

The hire comes as FIC looks to ramp up original series development and production for 300-plus international pay TV networks in 181 countries after building out its global footprint.

The networks and their related mobile and other extensions reach more than 1.6 billion households worldwide.

“Around the world, the FOX brand is synonymous with original, breakthrough content in entertainment and sports. Now we want to achieve that status with lifestyle and reality programming," Lopez said in a statement.

The 20th Century Fox unit earlier expanded into sport by launching FIC Sports.

Now adding lifestyle and reality programming to its entertainment offering, FIC is looking to better position its programming for cable and satellite TV platforms.

Barcellos most recently served as vp of production and executive producer at Bravo.

Besides five incarnations of The Real Housewives franchise, including the Atlanta and New Jersey series, his TV credits include Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and Inside the Actors Studio.

"This is my dream job - working for a visionary company expanding into uncharted territory," Barcellos said in his own statement.

Before Bravo, Barcellos worked in creative services for Rainbow Media, rising to the creative director post.

Now with FIC, he will be called on to produce tentpole unscripted franchises ripe for global day-and-date rollouts, much as what happens on the scripted front with series like The Walking Dead, The Bridge and Da Vinci's Demons.

FIC recently unveiled two new original series in development, Outcast, from The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, and False Flag, a U.S. adaptation of a Israeli scripted drama with Homeland's Keshet International and Parkland’s writer/director Peter Landsman.

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Kennedy's vision for mental health never realized

FILE - In this Oct. 31, 1963 file photo, President John F. Kennedy signs a bill authorizing $329 million for mental health programs at the White House in Washington. The Community Mental Health Act, the last legislation that Kennedy signed, aimed to build 1,500 mental health centers so those with mental illnesses could be treated while living at home, rather than being kept in state institutions. It brought positive changes, but was never fully funded. Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy will host a conference on Oct. 24, 2013 in Boston, to mark the 50th anniversary of the act, and formulate an agenda to continue improving mental health care. (AP Photo/Bill Allen, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 31, 1963 file photo, President John F. Kennedy signs a bill authorizing $329 million for mental health programs at the White House in Washington. The Community Mental Health Act, the last legislation that Kennedy signed, aimed to build 1,500 mental health centers so those with mental illnesses could be treated while living at home, rather than being kept in state institutions. It brought positive changes, but was never fully funded. Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy will host a conference on Oct. 24, 2013 in Boston, to mark the 50th anniversary of the act, and formulate an agenda to continue improving mental health care. (AP Photo/Bill Allen, File)

(AP) — The last piece of legislation President John F. Kennedy signed turns 50 this month: the Community Mental Health Act, which helped transform the way people with mental illness are treated and cared for in the United States.

Signed on Oct. 31, 1963, weeks before Kennedy was assassinated, the legislation aimed to build mental health centers accessible to all Americans so that those with mental illnesses could be treated while working and living at home, rather than being kept in neglectful and often abusive state institutions, sometimes for years on end.

Kennedy said when he signed the bill that the legislation to build 1,500 centers would mean the population of those living in state mental hospitals — at that time more than 500,000 people — could be cut in half. In a special message to Congress earlier that year, he said the idea was to successfully and quickly treat patients in their own communities and then return them to "a useful place in society."

Recent deadly mass shootings, including at the Washington Navy Yard and a Colorado movie theater, have been perpetrated by men who were apparently not being adequately treated for serious mental illnesses. Those tragedies have focused public attention on the mental health system and made clear that Kennedy's vision was never fully realized.

The legislation did help to usher in positive life-altering changes for people with serious illnesses such as schizophrenia, many of whom now live normal, productive lives with jobs and families. In 1963, the average stay in a state institution for someone with schizophrenia was 11 years. But only half of the proposed centers were ever built, and those were never fully funded.

Meanwhile, about 90 percent of beds have been cut at state hospitals, according to Paul Appelbaum, a Columbia University psychiatry professor and expert in how the law affects the practice of medicine. In many cases, several mental health experts said, that has left nowhere for the sickest people to turn, so they end up homeless, abusing substances or in prison. The three largest mental health providers in the nation today are jails: Cook County in Illinois, Los Angeles County and Rikers Island in New York.

"The rhetoric was very highfalutin. The reality was a little more complicated, and the funds that were provided were not adequate to the task," said Steven Sharfstein, president and CEO of Sheppard Pratt Health System, a nonprofit behavioral health organization in Baltimore.

"The goals of deinstitutionalization were perverted. People who did need institutional care got thrown out, and there weren't the programs in place to keep them supported," said former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, the president's nephew. "We don't have an alternate policy to address the needs of the severely mentally ill."

He is gathering advocates in Boston this week for the Kennedy Forum, a meeting to mark the 50th anniversary of his uncle's legislation and an attempt to come up with an agenda for improving mental health care.

The 1963 legislation came amid other changes in treatments for the mentally ill and health care policy in general, Appelbaum said. Chlorpromazine or Thorazine, the first effective antipsychotic medicine, was released in the 1950s. That allowed many people who were mentally ill to leave institutions and live at home.

In 1965, with the adoption of Medicaid, deinstitutionalization accelerated, experts said, because states now had an incentive to move patients out of state hospitals, where they shouldered the entire cost of their care, and into communities where the federal government would pick up part of the tab.

Later, a movement grew to guarantee rights to people with mental illness. Laws were changed in every state to limit involuntary hospitalization so people can't be committed without their consent, unless there is a danger of hurting themselves or others.

Kennedy's legislation provided for $329 million to build mental health centers that were supposed to provide services to people who had formerly been in institutions, as well as to reach into communities to try to prevent the occurrence of new mental disorders. Had the act been fully implemented, there would have been a single place in every community for people to go for mental health services.

But one problem with the legislation was that it didn't provide money to operate the centers long-term.

"Having gotten them off the ground, the federal government left it to states and localities to support," Appelbaum said. "That support by and large never came through."

Later, during the Reagan administration, the remaining funding for the act was converted into a mental health block grant for states, allowing them to spend it however they chose. Appelbaum called it a death knell because it left the community health centers that did exist on their own for funding.

Robert Drake, a professor of psychiatry and community and family medicine at Dartmouth College, said some states have tried to provide good community mental health care.

"But it's been very hard for them to sustain that because when state budget crunches come, it's always easiest to defund mental health programs because the state legislature gets relatively little pushback," he said. "Services are at a very low level right now. It's really kind of a disaster situation in most states."

Sharfstein points out that most mentally ill people are at a very low risk of becoming violent. He said it's unthinkable we would go back to the era when people were housed in "nightmare" conditions at overcrowded, understaffed and sometimes dangerous state hospitals.

"The opportunity to recover is much greater now than it was in 1963," he said.

But for those who do not take their medication, don't recover from their first episode of illness and don't seek treatment and support from professionals, they are vulnerable to homelessness, incarceration and death, he said.

Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health, counts among its 2,100 member organizations many of the original community mental health centers that were built under the 1963 legislation.

"Whenever you pass a piece of legislation, people would like to think that you've solved the problem," she said. "It did some very important things. It laid some ground work. It's up to us now to move forward."


Associated Press news researcher Judith Ausuebel in New York contributed to this report.

Associated PressSource:
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2013 Japanese Grand Prix fans’ video gallery | 2013 Japanese Grand Prix

The first-lap crash between Jules Bianchi[1] and Giedo van der Garde, Jean-Eric Vergne’s fire in qualifying and more were captured on video by fans in Japan.

Pic has a moment

Charles Pic[2] runs wide in second practice as another car slows down in front of him.

Vergne’s brakes fire

Jean-Eric Vergne[3] bring Q1 to a halt with his rear brakes on fire.

Classic Hondas

A selection of classic Honda-powered F1 cars tour the track before the start.


Raikkonen is pushed through the field to his grid slot for the start of the race.


Romain Grosjean[4] and Lewis Hamilton blast alongside the slow-starting Red Bulls as the lights go out.

This view gives a glimpse of how Bianchi and Van der Garde crashed out on the first lap.

A wide view of turn one and two at the start.

Grosjean pits

Lotus’s pit stops were a bit iffy earlier in the year but this one for Grosjean looks super-slick.

Webber passes Grosjean

After several laps of effort, Mark Webber[5] takes second place off Grosjean.

Gutierrez stops

Esteban Gutierrez[6] came to a stop after the race in which he claimed his first ever points for seventh place.

Vettel celebrates fourth Suzuka win

The win went to Sebastian Vettel[7] once again, and afterwards he celebrated with the fans again.

Thanks to @Andae23[8] for researching this article. If you’re interested in contributing to F1 Fanatic, see here for details on how you can:

Were you at the Japanese Grand Prix? Did you capture any videos? Share them here:

2013 Japanese Grand Prix

Browse all 2013 Japanese Grand Prix articles[9]


  1. ^ Jules Bianchi (
  2. ^ Charles Pic (
  3. ^ Jean-Eric Vergne (
  4. ^ Romain Grosjean (
  5. ^ Mark Webber (
  6. ^ Esteban Gutierrez (
  7. ^ Sebastian Vettel (
  8. ^ @Andae23 (
  9. ^ Browse all 2013 Japanese Grand Prix articles (
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Italian rabbi lauds protests against Nazi war criminal burial

By Naomi O'Leary

ROME (Reuters) - A leading rabbi praised Italian protesters who blocked the funeral of a convicted Nazi war criminal as Italy marked on Wednesday the 70th anniversary of the deportation of Jews from the Rome ghetto.

Erich Priebke's final resting place is now unclear after the protesters forced a suspension of his funeral on Tuesday in the Italian town of Albano Laziale. His body is lying at a military airport near Rome pending a decision from the authorities.

The former German SS officer died aged 100 last week in Rome, where he had been serving a life sentence under house arrest for his role in the killing of 335 civilians in 1944 in caves near the capital, one of Italy's worst wartime massacres.

At a ceremony in Rome's main synagogue, the head of Rome's Jewish community drew loud applause as he lauded the citizens and mayor of Albano Laziale for resisting Priebke's funeral.

"For this we feel proud to be Romans," Rabbi Riccardo Pacifici said at the event to mark the anniversary of the Nazis' rounding up of 1,000 Jews from Rome's centuries-old ghetto and their deportation to Auschwitz. Only 16 of them survived.

"I do not even want to say his (Priebke's) name, not to profane this sacred place," said the head of Union of Italian Jewish Communities, Renzo Gattegna.

"He never repented of his crimes and repeated the most incredible arguments denying the Holocaust."

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, who attended the ceremony wearing the traditional Jewish cap, the kippah, said the event showed "great solidarity... between Catholics, Muslims, Jews, believers and non-believers".

Priebke's body was moved to the military airport after anti-fascist protesters clashed with neo-Nazis on Tuesday in Albano Laziale outside the Italian headquarters of the Catholic Society of St Pius (SSPX), which had organized the funeral.


On Wednesday the SSPX, a fringe right-wing group which has strained ties with the Vatican, defended its decision to agree to hold the funeral for Priebke, saying a baptized Christian has the right to a proper burial "no matter what his sins".

"We hereby reiterate our rejection of all forms of anti-Semitism and racial hatred," the Italian branch of SSPX said.

The arch-traditionalist SSPX has been criticized for the extreme views of some of its members, including its former Bishop Richard Williamson, who embarrassed the Vatican by publicly denying the Holocaust.

Argentina, where Priebke lived after the war, has refused to accept the return of his body to be buried beside his wife.

Rome's mayor Ignazio Marino said his burial in the capital would be an "insult" and said he may seek help from the German government to find a solution.

Priebke's hometown in Germany has resisted a grave there, fearing it could become a neo-Nazi pilgrimage site.

A German foreign ministry spokesman told a regular news briefing on Wednesday he knew of no laws preventing a German citizen who had died abroad being buried in Germany, adding such matters were usually for the family of the deceased to sort out.

"It is in our interests to make sure this case does not lead to an argument about the life of Mr Priebke," he added.

Priebke was in charge of SS troops in March 1944 who executed civilians in the Ardeatine Caves in retaliation for the killings of 33 German soldiers by a partisan group.

Priebke was deported from Argentina to Italy after he was interviewed on U.S. television and admitted his role in the massacre, which he said had been conducted against "terrorists".

He was sentenced to life imprisonment in Italy in 1998.

(Additional reporting by James Mackenzie in Rome and Madeline Chambers in Berlin, Editing by Gareth Jones)

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Apple and the emperor's new wearable tech

With the hiring of another executive from the fashion industry, how can Apple's sense of overall design make wearable tech attractive?

Dear emperor, what a lovely watch you have.

(Credit: Socratica Studios/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

Can you have too much of any one logo?

Even if it's one you like, admire, and warm to? Even if it's one that you believe says more about you than, say, you ever could?

How often do you see supposedly fashionable men and women walking down the street decked out entirely in, say, Tory Burch or Gucci?

Don't they mix it up a little, just to demonstrate their, you know, individuality?

The question is important when it comes to wearable tech, the alleged next big thing. It's also important to the future of the Apple brand.

Last week, Apple hired Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts to oversee the next evocation of its retail offering. Ahrendts is someone who believes in the power of emotion.

She is the second hire from the fashion industry, after the company hired Paul Deneve from YSL to work on "special projects."

To some extent, this suggests a certainty within Apple that its most powerful advantage still lies in design. Apple's confidence in its own taste is vast.

But when it comes to wearable tech, the jury isn't merely out. It hasn't seen too much evidence.

More Technically Incorrect

The braying for a technological presence on one's wrist is largely non-existent. If the Samsung Galaxy Gear is representative of the genre, then the mere fact that it only works with the Galaxy Note 3 will put off many.

The notion that this is a product in search of any obvious use (other than the ability to take slightly creepy photographs) is strong.

Which leaves us in the broad area of design.

Any supposed iWatch may have to enjoy a similar emotional appeal as a Prada clutch or a Burberry scarf -- a defining accessory that isn't necessary, but looks just so.

The danger is overkill. You put your iPhone down on the bar, you've got your iPad lurking somewhere on you too. And then you're wearing an iWatch?

That feels like the design equivalent of his-and-hers sweatshirts. It's the taste level of "Jersey Shore."

It may well be that Apple or even Google will find some simple, clever use for an iWatch that will become a signature purpose.

More likely, though, is that there will have to seem something inherently attractive and personal about it for the concept to truly take hold.

With the Emperor's new clothes, there was no there there, just as it seems with most wearable tech currently.

What emotions could an iWatch evoke for it to be something that might, say, persuade even the most pretentious to take off their Rolex and flash a little more Apple?

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